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Cambridge : 







fTlHE present volume contains the results of some re- 
-■- searches into the folklore of the Greek-speaking parts 
of Macedonia, carried on in 1900-1 by the author under the 
auspices of the Electors to the Prendergast Studentship and 
of the Governing Body of Emmanuel College. The materials 
thus derived from oral tradition have, in some cases, been sup- 
plemented from local publications. Among the latter, special 
mention must be made of the two excellent booklets on the 
antiquities and folklore of Liakkovikia, by A. D. Gousios, a 
native schoolmaster, frequently quoted in the following pages. 
The peasant almanacks have also yielded a few additional 
sayings concerning the months. 

The writer has not been content with a bare record of 

Dreams, magic terrors, spells of mighty power, 
Witches, and ghosts who rove at midnight hour, 

but, induced by the example of his betters, has undertaken 
some tentative nights to Zululand, Yungnulgra, Zamboanga, 
the Seranglao and Gorong archipelagoes, and other resorts 
now fashionable among folklorists. Ancient History and 
modern, the Old World and the New have been laid under 
contribution, to the limited extent of the author's reading, 
with the result that many a nursery rhyme, shorn of all its 
familiar simplicity, has been 

Started at home and hunted in the dark 
To Gaul, to Greece, and into Noah's ark. 

x Preface 

For these spiritual excursions into the vast unknown, the 
author is chiefly indebted to the guidance of Mr Tvlor s and 
Mr Frazers monumental works, to some of Mr Andrew Lang's 
essays, and to various other authorities mentioned in the foot- 
notes. His thanks are also due to his forerunners in the 
pursuit of Modern Greek folklore, and more particularly to 
Mr Tozer, Herr Bernhard Schmidt, MM. Georgeakis et Pineau, 
Sir Rennell Rodd and others whose labours it has been his 
modest ambition to supplement. In conclusion, it is the 
author's pleasant duty to acknowledge his obligations to the 
readers of the Cambridge University Press, whose conscientious 
and intelligent revision of the proofs has saved him from many 
a slip. 

G. F. A. 

Emmanuel College, 


March 25, 1903. 



I. The Folklorist in Macedonia. 

II. The Folk-Calendar and the Seasons 

III. January, February and March 

IV. Eastertide 

V. April, May and June 

VI. July to December . 
VII. Winter Festivities . 

VIII. Divination 

IX. Symbolism 

X. Birth 

XI. Marriage . 

XII. Funeral Rites 

XIII. Spirits and Spells . 

XIV. Macedonian Mythology 

XV. Alexander and Philip in Folk-Tradition 

XVI. Bird Legends . 

XVII. Miscellaneous Notes 

XVIII. Riddles . 
XIX. h.€iavoTpayovba 

Appendix I. 


„ IV. 

„ VI. 

























In the Near East, as elsewhere, Western civilization is doing 
its wonted work of reducing all racial and individual character- 
istics to a level of dull uniformity. The process, however, is 
much slower in Macedonia than it is in countries like Egypt, 
Greece, or Roumania. The mountainous character of the 
province, the backward state of commerce, lack of security, and 
the conspicuous absence of means of communication obstruct 
the progress of foreign influence. The same causes keep the 
various districts, and their inhabitants, separated from each 
other. To these impediments are further added the barriers 
of language, creed, and race, all tending to foster that luxuriant 
wealth of superstitious growth, which makes glad the heart 
of the folklorist. 

These features, naturally, are less prominent in the cosmo- 
politan cities on the coast than in the interior of the country, 
and in the interior, again, they are less prominent now than 
they were some years ago. The materials which I collected at 
Salonica and Cavalla were mostly gleaned from the peasants, 
who resort to those centres from the environs for commercial or 
religious purposes, and only in very few cases from native 
citizens. The Khans, or inns, in which these villagers stop, 
may be said to constitute the sole parts of the cities worth 
exploring, and the exploration is neither an easy nor a pleasant 
task. My real harvest was gathered in the thoroughly provin- 
cial towns of Serres and Melenik, the townships of Demir 
Hissar and Nigrita, and the villages adjacent thereto ; as well 
as in places of lesser note, such as Vassilika and Sochos in the 

a. f. 1 

2 Macedonian Folklore 

Chalcidic Trident, the settlements in its three prongs, Provista 
in the valley of the Struma, Pravi in the neighbourhood of 
Philippi, and some of the country around, and to the south of, 
Drama. In all and sundry of these districts I found abundance 
of the things of which I was in quest, and more than I could 
possibly gather within the time allowed by circumstances. 

At Serres I was chiefly beholden for my materials to an 
aged and half-blind nurse, whose acquaintance I made through 
the kind offices of certain Greek ladies, the old woman's 
quondam charges. Kyra Tassio was a rich mine of fairy-lore, 
and though she would insist on going at a rate more in keeping 
with the pace of a motor-car than with the speed of an ordinary 
human hand, I succeeded in filling several note-books from her 
•dictation, only to find on examination that a great many of her 
tales had already been substantially reproduced by Hahn, while 
some of the rest were not worth reproducing at all. Still, 
out of the heap of dross, several nuggets of pure gold were 
secured : enough to satisfy the ambition of a moderately 
sanguine explorer. 

M. Tzikopoulos, a learned professor of that town, was good 
enough to assist me in the elucidation of the stories obtained 
from Kyra Tassio and other ancient sources, and to him I am 
also indebted for much valuable information on the dialect of 
the district, as well as for a number of notes on the language 
and customs of South-Western Macedonia, the part of the 
country from which he hailed. 1 I am all the more grateful to 
M. Tzikopoulos because he made no secret of his hearty con- 
tempt for my pursuits. Philology was his particular hobby, 
and, in proportion as he loved his own hobby, he scorned the 
hobbies of other men. Old wives' tales had no charm for 
M. Tzikopoulos. " It is all nonsense and sheer waste of time/' 
he assured me solemnly on more occasions than one, and yet he 
never refused to be questioned. 

M. Zographides of Melenik was another genial old teacher 

1 For my introduction to this gentleman I am indebted to the courtesy of 
M. P. N. Papageorgiou, the well-known scholar and archaeologist, whose 
sympathetic interest in my work will always remain as one of the most pleasant 
:reminiscences of my tour. 

The Folklorist in Macedonia 3 

to whose lessons and friendly guidance I owe much. Unlike 
M. Tzikopoulos, this authority was conveniently eclectic in his 
tastes, and his heart was impartially open to all kinds of 
knowledge, from Anthropology to Demonology, and from Philo- 
logy to Phrenology, provided the subject ended in -ology. It 
is true that he also professed the learned man's contempt for 
popular superstition ; but, being of a more tolerant disposition, 
he waived his prejudice, and saw no objection to cross-examining 
his wife and all the old ladies of the neighbourhood on my 
behalf. His exertions and those of other local gentlemen were 
crowned with success, as the results amply prove. 

At Melenik I was doomed to a second disappointment at 
the hands of an aged story-teller. Fame described her as a 
walking Arabian Nights Entertainments in a complete and 
unexpurgated edition. But, when weighed in the balance, she 
was found sadly wanting, and the few things which I lured out 
of her reluctant mouth had to be expurgated to a point of total 
annihilation. A third female — a renowned witch — on whom I 
had been led to build high hopes, showed her diabolical wicked- 
ness by dying a short time before my arrival. 

These failures shook my faith in old women — of the fair 
sex, at all events. But the fortune that favours the folklorist 
enabled me, before leaving Melenik, to fall in with an old 
woman of the opposite sex. Kyr Liatsos, though a mere 
bearded man, was, from the student's point of view, worth at 
least a dozen ordinary old dames rolled into one. 

I found him in his workshop, sitting cross-legged on a rush 
mat, with his baggy breeches well-tucked between the knees. 
Though the owner of broad acres in the vicinity of the town, he 
was compelled, by the memory of past experiences at the hands 
of Bulgarian brigands, and by the fear of similar treatment in 
the future, to ply the needle and ell for a livelihood. In short, 
Kyr Liatsos was a tailor. But, like the Great Mel — his col- 
league of Evan Harrington fame — he was an individual far 
above his station. This became patent from the manner in 
which he received and entertained me. Nothing could be 
more generous, kindly, philosophical, eccentric, and unsartorial 
than his behaviour towards the strange collector of nonsense. 


4 Macedonian Folklore 

A glance through a pair of brass-rimmed spectacles, un- 
stably poised on an honestly red nose, satisfied Kyr Liatsos 
that his visitor had not called for so commonplace an object as 
a pair of trousers. With remarkable mental agility he adjusted 
himself to these new circumstances. The fur-coat, on which he 
was engaged at the moment of my entrance, flew to the other 
end of the shop, one of the apprentices was despatched for a 
bottle of arrack and tobacco, and in two minutes Kyr Liatsos 
was a tailor transformed. 

There being no chairs in the establishment we reclined, my 
guide and I, a la Grecque on the rush mats which covered the 
floor. I produced my note-books, and my host, after a short, 
and somewhat irrelevant preface concerning the political state 
of Europe, the bloodthirsty cruelty of the Macedonian Com- 
mittee, and the insatiable rapacity of the tax-gatherers,, 
plunged into the serious business of the day. It is true that 
his discourse was often interrupted by allusions to matters, 
foreign to the subject in hand, and still more often by impre- 
cations and shoes addressed to the apprentices, who preferred 
to listen to their masters tales rather than do his work. Yet, 
in spite of these digressions, Kyr Liatsos never missed or 
tangled the threads of his narrative. 

Meanwhile his wife arrived, and after having given vent to 
some natural astonishment at her lord's novel occupation, she 
collapsed into a corner. Her protests, at first muttered in an 
audible aside, grew fainter and fainter, and at last I thought, 
she had fallen asleep. On looking up, however, I discovered 
that she merely stood spell-bound by her gifted husband's 
eloquence. It was only when the latter got up and began to 
romp about the room, that she felt it her duty to express her 
strong disapprobation of the proceedings. This she did in the 
following terms: 

" Art thou not ashamed of thyself, my husband ? Thou 
dances t and makest merry, and thy poor brother has been dead 
scarcely a month/' 

Thereupon I perceived that Kyr Liatsos actually wore 
round his fez a black crape band which had not yet had time 
to turn green. I sympathized with the lady for an instant.. 

The Folklorist in Macedonia 5 

But the next moment I was completely reassured by her 
husband's retort: 

" Mind thy own business, O woman ! " he answered, gravely, 
but without interrupting his waltz, " and I know how to mind 
mine. It is not for unseemly joy that I dance ; but in order 
to show this gentleman the steps of our country dance. My 
motive is scientific. But women cannot comprehend such 

Having delivered this severe rebuke Kyr Liatsos resumed 
his seat, his pipe and his story. 

Soon after happened something which illustrated even more 
vividly the close resemblance between Kyr Liatsos and the 
Great > Mel. A customer was announced: a big Turk, who 
wanted to see Master on business. 

" Business and Turks be damned ! " was the emphatic and 
highly uncommercial answer, accompanied by a well-aimed 
shoe at the head of a truant apprentice. 

I insisted that Kyr Liatsos should not neglect his interests 
on my account, and said that I should be extremely sorry if he 
lost any money through his hospitality. 

" Nonsense, sir ! " he thundered back, " What is money, 
when compared with the satisfaction of conversing with a man 
like you ? " 

I attempted to bow my thanks for the compliment as 
gracefully as my attitude on the floor permitted. 

It was dark ere I left Kyr Liatsos's cobweb-festooned 
establishment. On my way out I nearly fell over a crowd of 
small Melenikiotes, who, having been apprised of the fact that 
there were glorious doings in the shop, had gathered outside 
the door and were eagerly, though timidly, listening through 
its numerous interstices. 

All my subsequent experiences at Melenik pale beside this 
ever-memorable interview with her Great Tailor. 

My visit to Petritz, though exceedingly fruitful in other 
respects, proved comparatively barren of results so far as my 
special object of research was concerned. I found the district 
in an unsettled condition, and the Turkish authorities, partly 
from genuine fear lest I should come to grief and partly from 

6 Macedonian Folklore 

an equally lively apprehension that I might spy the nakedness 
of the land and the wretchedness thereof, allowed me little 
liberty for folklore. To interview people would have meant 
getting them into trouble, and to be seen taking notes would 
have resulted in getting into trouble myself. All my enquiries 
had, therefore, to be conducted with the utmost secrecy and all 
my writing to be done with curtains drawn closely. 

For this unsuccess I was richly compensated at Nigrita. 
In that township I had the privilege of being the guest of 
a wealthy weaver, whose looms furnished employment to a 
considerable number of hands. His workmen were easily 
induced to dictate to me scores of the songs with which they 
beguiled the tedium of their daylong toil, while many others 
were likewise pressed into the service of Ethnology. So that 
when I departed I had several note-books filled with multi- 
farious information on men and things. In this place I also 
had an opportunity of assisting at a local dance in the ' middle- 
space ' {fA6aox&pi>) of the village. But my readers will be spared 
the description of a function which is infinitely more interesting 
in real life than on paper. 

The thing which impressed me most deeply throughout my 
tour was the astonishing facility with which the people entered 
into the spirit of the enterprise. That I was the first person 
who had ever explored the country with the avowed purpose of 
picking up old wives' tales and superstitions was evident from 
the surprise and incredulity with which my first questions were 
everywhere received by the peasants. Yet no sooner were their 
fears of being the victims of a practical joke dispelled than they 
evinced the shrewdest comprehension of the nature and value 
of the work. In this I could not help thinking that the 
Macedonian folk presented a most flattering contrast to the 
rural population of western lands. Like the latter they are 
naturally shy of divulging their cherished beliefs to a stranger ; 
but it is not difficult to overcome their shyness. A little tact 
in most cases and a little silver in some are sufficient to loosen 
their tongues. 

Another and more formidable obstacle was the suspicion 
that my curiosity was prompted by sinister motives. The 

The Folklorist in Macedonia 7 

Christians in Turkey are so frequently harassed by the 
authorities on account of their national aspirations and political 
sympathies that a new-comer is always an object of mistrust. 
Every stranger is a detective until he has proved himself to 
be an honest man. For all these reasons it is imperative to 
approach the humble folk through their betters; those who 
are free from superstition themselves, and at the same time are 
enlightened enough to appreciate the importance of the study of 
superstition and courteous enough to exert their influence on 
the student's behalf. To people of this class I seldom appealed 
in vain. Their native urbanity, quickened by the Greek's love 
for the Englishman, made them always ready to place their 
services at my disposal. 1 On one occasion alone I failed, and 
my failure deserves to be recorded as a warning to others. It 
shows how the work is not to be done. 

It happened in a small village on the eastern coast of the 
Chalcidic Peninsula. I had been informed that two old 
women, who dwelt in a certain cottage, were considered the 
greatest living authorities on funeral laments. Confident in 
my own powers of persuasion, I neglected to secure the support 
of a local magnate ; but I forthwith proceeded to the abode of 
the Muses, uote-book in hand, and explained to them the 
object of my visit. As soon as the meaning of my errand 
broke on their intelligence, their kindly faces assumed the 
aspect of the Eumenides in pursuit of a matricide : 

" What ! " they exclaimed both in one voice, " You good-for- 
nothing ! You vagabond ! You want to hold us up to ridicule 
all over the world ? Is that what you mean, eh ? " 

I assured them that nothing was further from my thoughts. 
But my words had no other effect than to intensify the old 
dames' choler, and I found it advisable to beat a hasty and 
undignified retreat. As I fled, my ears continued ringing with 
the shrill accents and angry expletives of the enraged menads. 

1 Want of space renders it impossible to give a complete list of all the 
individuals who have obliged me with their aid. But I should be wanting in 
common gratitude if I forbore to mention M. Athenaeos, an official of the 
Ottoman Regie at Ca valla, who spared no pains in persuading the peasants, who 
worked in the tobacco-stores, to disclose their treasures to me. 

8 Macedonian Folklore 

I did not repeat the experiment. 

Great part of my material was collected during late summer 
and early autumn, in the open fields and vineyards, whenever 
the relative absence of brigandage and agitation rendered that 
possible, and on the roads while travelling from one place to 
another. On the latter occasions my fellow-travellers, and 
more especially my muleteers, were made to supply me with 
information. Very often the songs with which they cheered 
the way were at the conclusion of the journey dictated to me. 

But my best work was done by the cottage fireside. During 
the long evenings of winter it is the custom for families to 
meet and spend the time in social companionship (vvxTept). 
The women in these reunions generally keep their hands 
busy knitting, and, of course, their tongues gossiping. The 
men smoke and discuss politics. Now and again the work 
is laid aside, the debate is adjourned, and they all listen 
attentively to the tale which some ancient dame is telling for 
the benefit of the youngsters. On special occasions, such as 
the eves of saints' days, these gatherings assume an entirely 
festive character. No work is done, but the time is devoted to 
stories, riddles and songs, hence known as ' Sitting-up Songs ' 

The old Klephtic ballads are also still sung not only on the 
mountains but in the fields and plains, and in all places where 
the ear of the police cannot reach. Nay, at feasts and fairs, 
and wherever Greeks are gathered together, a round or two of 
the " bell-mouthed glass " is enough to make them cast fear to 
the winds and give musical expression to their patriotic feelings. 
Even in the towns on the coast, where serenades and love-ditties 
are so much in vogue and the Turkish commissaries of police 
so much in evidence, the epic is not forgotten. At Cavalla 
I met one evening an Epirot highlander, who invited me to 
a tavern and promised to regale me with " such songs as had 
never been heard before." He fulfilled his promise to the 
letter. When all the habitues were gone, the shutters were 
put up, and the lights, for the fear of the Turks, were turned 
down, my friend cleared his throat and commenced one of the 
wildest and most thrilling melodies that has ever assailed my 

The Folklorist in Macedonia 9 

ear. By little and little his enthusiasm got the better of his 
discretion ; his voice rose and swelled until the grimy apart- 
ment was peopled with the shades of heroes, the dark corners 
were illuminated with the splendour of heroic deeds, and the 
dirty tavern was transformed into a romantic battle-field on 
which Freedom met and overcame Tyranny. It was a pathetic 
scene, notwithstanding its grotesqueness. The tavern-keeper 
and his servant were the only hearers besides myself. Through 
the dim light of the apartment I could see their eyes glittering 
with the sort of fire which has ere now kindled revolutions 
and changed the map of South- Eastern Europe. A deep sigh 
was the only applause which greeted the end of the song ; but 
the bard felt richly rewarded. He had relieved his own over- 
burdened heart and had also succeeded in stirring the hearts of 
his audience. He emptied his glass and departed with a brief 
" Good night." 

Of the blind minstrels who once were so popular through- 
out the Greek world I found few remnants in Macedonia. The 
tribe has fallen on evil days. Civilization and barbarism have 
proved alike fatal to its existence, and its few representatives 
eke out a precarious livelihood by singing the products of their 
rustic muse at village fairs and weddings. Barba Sterios, 
whom I described elsewhere, 1 seems to have been in very truth 
the last of the Macedonian minstrels. 

From such sources are drawn most of the materials out of 
which the present work has been compiled. 2 Even where the 
information is not quite new, I venture to hope that it may be 
found useful as a corroboration or correction at first hand of the 
experiences already recorded by others. It is not to be pre- 
sumed that this volume exhausts the wealth of Macedonian 
folklore. It only represents the harvest gathered by one 
individual of limited means within a limited space of time. 

1 Songs of Modern Greece, pp. 5 foil. 

2 A great many of the tales and songs collected had to be excluded either 
because they were too well known or because they lay beyond the scope of the 
present volume. At some future date I may have an opportunity of publishing 
a selection from them. 

10 Macedonian Folklore 

Another student with greater resources at his command might 
find an aftermath well worth the trouble of gleaning. 

Such a student, however, must be one not unwilling to face 
hardship and danger. He must also be one prepared to look 
upon brigands chiefly in the light of auxiliaries to the excite- 
ment of rough travel, and upon Turkish Government officials 
as interesting psychological phenomena. These qualifications, 
a Colt revolver, a Turkish fez, a small medicine chest, a 
moderate stock of humour, and a plentiful stock of insect- 
killing powder are among the absolutely indispensable items 
of the complete Macedonian traveller s outfit. A kodak may 
or may not prove useful ; but in either case it will have to be 
smuggled into the country or imported on the clear under- 
standing that it is not an infernal machine — a point on which 
the Custom House authorities are slow to be convinced, unless 
argument is reinforced by bakshish. Note-books and maps are 
to be used only in the dark, figuratively speaking ; for a sight 
of those suspicious articles may earn the traveller the reputation 
of a secret political agent, — one dealing in "treasons, stratagems, 
and spoils" — and lead to the awkward consequences which such 
a reputation usually entails, including a rapid march under 
escort to the nearest sea-port. The escort will indeed be 
described in official parlance as a guard of honour, and the 
expulsion as a signal proof of the Sultan's solicitude for the 
traveller's safety ; but these polite euphemisms will not alter 
the situation to any appreciable extent. 



Time among the peasantry of Macedonia is measured not 
so much by the conventional calendar as by the labours and 
festivals which are proper to the various seasons of the year. 
Seed-time, harvest, and vintage ; the Feast of St George, or the 
bonfires of St John — these are some of the landmarks in the 
peasant's life. In most cases the Roman designations of the 
months, meaningless to Greek ears, have been corrupted into 
forms to which popular ingenuity has readily assigned a 
plausible derivation ; in others they have been replaced by 
names descriptive of the occupations which form the principal 
feature of every month ; while a third class of months is known 
by the name of the greatest saint whose feast occurs during 
each one of them. These characteristic appellations lend to the 
folk-calendar a variety and freshness of colour such as one 
would vainly seek in the artificial almanacks of more highly 
cultured communities; a possible exception to this rule being 
offered only by the picturesque nomenclature of the Dutch 
months, and by the short-lived, because artificial, return to 
Nature initiated by the French during their Revolution. 

There are wise saws attached to each month ; some con- 
taining the fruit of past experience, others a shrewd forecast of 
the future. Many of these products of rustic lore are from 
time to time inserted in the cheap publications — Kazamias — of 
Constantinople and Athens, which in some respects correspond 
to our own Old Moore's Almanack. Many more are to be 

12 Macedonian Folklore 

culled in the country districts directly from the peasants 
themselves. But, whether they are embodied in halfpenny 
pamphlets or nourish freely in the open fields, these sayings 
have their roots deep in the soil of popular conviction. The 
weather is, of course, the theme upon which the village sage 
mostly loves to exercise his wisdom ; for it is upon the weather 
that the well-being of both herdsman and husbandman chiefly 
depends. Several specimens of Macedonian weather-lore will 
be found in the following pages. As a general rule they are in 
verse, terse and concise as behoves the utterances of a popular 
oracle. On the other hand, it must be confessed, these com- 
positions sometimes exhibit all the insensibility to rhyme from 
which suffer the illiterate everywhere. Most of these adages 
are as widely known in Southern Greece as in the Greek- 
speaking parts of Macedonia. 

The Four Seasons. 

The traditional division of the year into four seasons is 
recognized by the popular muse in the following distich: 

Tpefc jArjves elv rj "Avoi^l Kal rpeis to KaXoKatpi' 
T/oefc elvai to "KipoTTCopo 1 Kal Tpels ftapi)<; Xe(/ia5m?. 

" Three months are Spring, and three Summer ; 
Three are Autumn, and three keen Winter." 

1 i.q. Qdivbiridpov. 



The first month of the year is known as the ' Breeder* 
(Tewdprjs), the corruption of the name (from 'lavovdpios) 
having suggested a meaning according well with the main 
characteristic of the month ; for it is at this time of year that 
cattle are wont to breed (yevvovv). It is also called the ' Great' 
or 'Long Month' (MeydXo? or Tpavbs /j,fjva<;) y in contradistinc- 
tion to February ; and the 'Pruner' (KXaSetmfc). It is good to 
prune and trim trees and vines in this month, regardless of all 
other considerations : 

Ttvvdpr) fjiTjva /cXaSeue, (j>eyydpt /jurjv %€Ta£r)$. 

" In January look thy plants to prune, 
And heed thou not the progress of the moon." 

The force of the injunction will be fully appreciated by 
those who know how deep and universal is the importance 
attributed to the moon by the popular mind. 

An omen is drawn from the observation of the weather 
on the Epiphany: 

Xapd '9 rd Qoora rd areyyd /cal rrj Aajjuirprj /3pefxev7]. 

"A dry Epiphany and dripping Easter-tide 
Betoken joy and plenty through the country-side." 

This is the reverse of our English adages "A green Yule 
makes a fat churchyard," "January fair, the Lord have 
mercy!" and other pessimistic proverbs well known to weather- 
lorists. 1 

1 See R. Inwards, Weather Lore, pp. 10 foil. ; The Book of Days, ed. by 
R. Chambers, vol. 1. p. 22. 

14 Macedonian Folklore 

A piece of culinary advice is conveyed by these rhymes : 

TlrJTra, Korra rov Vevvdprj, 
fcoKKopa rov * AkcovdpTj. 
"In January make of hen thy pie, 
And leave the cock to fat until July." 


February (<3>e/3poua/K09) has had its name turned into 
<fr\e/3dpr)<;, which, according to the folk-etymologist, means the 
'Vein-sweller/ because during this month the veins (<£Xey8e9) of 
the earth are swollen with water — an idea also expressed by our 
own folk appellation of the month : February fill-dyke. The 
same idea is embodied in the ominous saw : 

f O <l>\e/3ap79 </>\e/3e<? dvotyec teal Troprac? a(f>a\vdei. 
"February opens many a vein and closes many a door," 
that is, it is the cause of many a death. 

But, notwithstanding his ferocity, February still is the 
forerunner of the blissful time in store for us : 

<&Xefiapr}<; /cy av (j>\e/3i£j), 
Kakofcaipiais fivpl^ei. 
Ma av Scoay /cal /caKiobo~j), 
M.ea \ to %iovi da fia$ ^darj. 

"February, though the veins he swell, 
Still of spring and summer will he smell ; 
But if perchance he wrathful grows, 
He'll bury us beneath the snows." 

February is likewise called Mi/epos fjbfjvas or Kovrao- 
</>Xe/3apo9, that is, ' Little Month ' or * Lame February.' 1 

On Feb. 2nd is celebrated the feast of the Purification of 
the Virgin (rrjs 'Tirairavrrj^), our Candlemas Day. The 
weather which prevails on that day is expected to last forty 
days — a periopl which occurs constantly in modern Greek 

1 The word kovtoSs * lame ' is by some identified with the Albanian Koutzi 
' little,' as in the word Koutzo-Vlach, where it is said to mean Little Wallach, 
in contradistinction to the Great Wallachs of the mediaeval MeyaXopXaxLa 
(Thessaly). The usual translation is 'lame' or 'lisping,' an epithet referring 
to the pronunciation of the Wallachs. These derivations are given under all 
possible reservations and should not be taken for more than they are worth. 

January, February and March 15 

prognostications concerning the weather and is also familiar 
in the folklore of most European countries. The superstition 
attached to this day is also common. Sir Thomas Browne, 
in his Vulgar Errors, quotes a Latin distich expressive of a 
parallel belief: 

Si sol splendescat Maria purificante, 

Major erit glacies post festum quam fuit ante ; 

which is well reproduced in the homely Scottish rhyme: 

If Candlemass day be dry and fair, 
The half o' winter's to come and mair. 
If Candlemass day be wet and foul, 
The half o' winter's gane at Yule. 1 

Another Scotch proverb refers distinctly to the "forty days." 

Saint Swithin's day, gin ye do rain, 
For forty days it will remain ; 
Saint Swithin's day, an ye be fair, 
For forty days 't will rain nae mair. 2 

Gay also alludes to the superstition in his Trivia : 

How, if on Swithin's feast the welkin lowers, 
And ev'ry penthouse streams with hasty showers, 
Twice twenty days shall clouds their fleeces drain, 
And wash the pavement with incessant rain. 3 

Similar beliefs are still entertained by our own folk with 
regard to other days about this time of year, such as the 
12th of January; the 13th (St Hilary's); the 22nd (St 
Vincent's); and the 25th (St Paul's) of the same month 4 ; 
while the idea of the quarantaine (in the old sense of the word) 
occurs in some French rhymes concerning St Medard's Day 
(July 8) and the Day of Saints Gervais and Protais (June 19). 5 

1 E. Inwards, Weather Lore, p. 20 ; The Book of Days, vol. i. p. 214. 

2 E. Inwards, Weather Lore, pp. 37, 38 ; The Book of Days, vol. i. p. 672. 

3 Bk i. 183-6. 

4 On the last mentioned day the learned writer in The Book of Days 
(vol. i. p. 157) as well as K. Inwards (Weather Lore, pp. 15 foil.) should be 
consulted by those interested in the subject. 

5 S'il pleut le jour de Saint Medard, 
11 pleut quarante jours plus tard ; 

S'il pleut le jour de Saint Gervais et de Saint Protais, 
II pleut quarante jours apres. 

The Book of Days, vol. n. p. 63. 

16 Macedonian Folklore 


'A7ro yiaprrj icakoicalpt Kjj air Avyovaro %€LfiG>va$. 

"Summer sets in with March and Winter with August," 

emphatically declares the popular proverb. In accordance with 
this observation omens are especially looked for at this season 
of the awakening of Nature. The sight of a lamb, for instance, 
is a sign that he who has seen one first will be excessively fond 
of sleep during the summer, the animal being regarded as a 
symbol of sloth. The opposite conclusion is drawn from the 
sight of a sprightly and restless kid. 

During the first three days of the month the peasants, and 
more particularly their wives and daughters, rise early in the 
morning and hurry to the fields, vying with each other which of 
them will be the first to hear "the herald melodies of spring." 
The call of the cuckoo is anxiously expected, and lucky is he or she 
who hears it first. Parties are formed and repair to the fields 
on purpose and, as soon as it is heard, they gather wild berries 
and bring them home. The voice of the bird is accepted as an 
assurance that gloomy winter with its frosts and snows has 
departed, and with it has disappeared the necessity of keeping 
indoors — a necessity peculiarly distasteful to the southern 
temperament. Spring with its congenial freedom is close at 
hand. The trees begin to blossom and to burst into bud, 
impelled thereto by the soft south-easterly breeze hence known 
as the ' tree-sweller ' (o fyovcncohevrpirr)*;). This is the glad 
message which the cuckoo brings to the Macedonian. The 
ancients regarded the appearance of the bird with similar 
feelings, as is shown by Hesiod's words: "When the cuckoo 
begins to cry cuckoo ! amidst the foliage of the oak and fills 

the hearts of men over the boundless earth with joy " x 

However, the modern sage warns us not to be premature in 
our rejoicings ; for eW? icovicicos he icavei rrjv avoi^i " One 
cuckoo does not make a spring," another sentiment which finds 
its prototype in antiquity. 2 

i W. and D. 486-7. 

2 Cp. the ancient proverb pla x^&uv lap ov iroteL. Arist. Eth. N. I. 7, 15. 

January, February and March 17 

The very anticipations which make the farmer and the 
shepherd rejoice are, nevertheless, a source of grief to those 
whose livelihood depends on the duration of "keen winter/' 
Charcoal-burners hate the cuckoo whose notes announce the 
approach of fine weather. Mischievous urchins turn this cir- 
cumstance to account and delight in teasing the unfortunate 
charcoal-burners by shouting cuckoo! cuckoo! after them. 

The bird is also credited with a malicious sense of humour, 
and in order to escape from its ridicule some of the peasants 
avoid partaking of too sumptuous a breakfast during the 

The cuckoo, viewed from another standpoint, is considered 
an emblem of dreary desolation, a sentiment which finds ex- 
pression in the popular saying e/neive kovkkos, " lonely as a 
cuckoo." It is further said of one who has wasted much money 
on a profitless enterprise that "he has paid for a cuckoo the 
price of a nightingale " — top koo-tmtcv 6 kovkkos drjSovi. Such 
is the penalty which the cuckoo has to pay for its popularity. 1 

The Russians also regard the cuckoo as "a type of the 
orphan state." But nevertheless they, in common with most 
Slavonic races, look upon it with much respect. 2 Our own 
country-folk are not indifferent to the appearance of the cuckoo, 
as the following rhymes, heard in Lancashire, testify : 

"The cuckoo struts in April, 
Sings in May, 
Flies away 
First cock of hay." 3 

The mournful notes of the bird known as gyon are likewise 
heard with pleasure and for a similar reason. But of all the 

1 The game of Hide and Seek (rb Kpv<pr6) is also known by the name cuck 
(wal^oviie rb koi!>k), from the cry used by the hiding children. This may be worth 
noting by students of cuckoo-customs. It has already been conjectured that the 
game in question is perhaps related to a custom of hunting the cuckoo. See 
Animal Superstitions and Totemism, by N. W. Thomas, in Folklore, vol. xi. 
p. 260, n. 1. 

2 Ralston, Songs of the Russian People, pp. 214 foil. 

3 For other English rhymes and the omens drawn from the call of the 
bird when first heard, etc. see R. Inwards, Weather Lore, pp. 30, 164; The 
Book of Days, vol. i. pp. 529 foil. 

A. F. 2 

18 Macedonian Folklore 

forerunners of the vernal season none is greeted with greater 
joy than the swallow. In Macedonia, as in Southern Greece, 
the return of the bird is hailed with hearty enthusiasm. Its 
building under the eaves, or on the rafters of a house is 
welcomed as an omen of wealth, and it is believed that he 
who destroys its nest will be punished with freckles on his 
face and hands. On the first of March the boys are in the 
habit of constructing a wooden image of the bird, revolving on 
a pivot, which they adorn with flowers, and with it in their 
hands they go round the houses in groups a-gooding, that is 
singing a song of congratulations in return for which they receive 
various gifts. The following is a specimen of the Swallow-song 
in use among the inhabitants of Liakkovikia, a village in south- 
eastern Macedonia : 

The Swallow-Song. 

The swallow is coming from across the black sea. 
It has crossed the sea for us and founded a fortress. 
It has sat and sung in the middle of March's court. 

"O March, my goodly March, and thou dreadful February, 
How far hast thou travelled to learn thy letters? 
Letters royal, such as children learn ? 

"The schoolmaster has sent us that thou mayest give us five eggs, 
And if thou hast not five eggs, give us the clucking hen, 
To lay eggs and brood over them and draw her chickens after her." 

March is come : he is welcome ; 

The blossoms burst forth, the land is filled with scent. 

Out with fleas and bugs, in with health and joy I 1 

The allusion to fleas and bugs, irrelevant as it may seem, is 
of considerable interest to the folklorist. Both insects appear 
again and again in the Macedonian spring and summer cere- 
monies, and we shall have an opportunity of returning to them 
more than once in the sequel. 

The custom of going about with the swallow existed among 

1 The original is given in A. A. Tov<rLov, ''H Kara rb Udyyaiop Xu?/oa,' p. 43. 
Por variants see Songs of Modern Greece, p. 174 ; Passow, Nos. 305-308. 

January, February and March 19 

the ancient Greeks (^eXiBovl^etv ■ dyeipetv rrj ^ekthovt), and 
one of the swallow-songs popular in antiquity has fortunately 
come down to us. 1 But the Romans also received the " har- 
binger of spring" with cordial hospitality, 2 and so did the 
Teutons and the old Slavonians. The latter looked upon the 
bird's early arrival as a promise of an abundant harvest, and 
upon its presence among them as a safeguard against fire and 
lightning, and they supposed the robbing of its nest to bring 
down "terrible evils on the head of the robber." 3 Indeed the 
springtime customs of the modern Russians are very much like 
those prevalent in Macedonia. The first of March is by tradition 
set apart for the reception of the Spring. Morning excursions 
into the fields are in great vogue. The wooden image of the 
swallow finds a parallel in their clay image of the lark, and the 
swallow-song in similar compositions sung in honour of Vesna, 
the vernal season, or of Lada, the vernal goddess of love and 
fertility. 4 

On the same day the Macedonian mothers tie round their 
children's wrists a skein consisting of red and white yarn, 
twisted together and called after the month (o fjbdpr^ y or f) 
fidpTa). The children at the sight of a swallow throw this 
thread to the bird, as an offering, or place it under a stone. A 
few days after they lift the stone and, if they find beneath it a 
swarm of ants, they anticipate a healthy and prosperous year ; 
the reverse, should the thread lie deserted. The explanation of 
this custom must perhaps be sought in some forgotten notion of 
a sympathetic relation between the skein and the child which 
wore it. A parallel is offered by the practice of some of the 
natives of New South Wales who placed the tooth extracted 
from the gums of a lad under the bark of a tree, and " if the 
ants ran over it, the natives believed that the boy would suffer 
from a disease of the mouth." 5 The presence of the ants is in 

1 Athen. vm. 360 b. 

2 Fallimur ? an veris praenuntia venit hirundo ? Ovid, Fast. n. 853. 

3 > 4 Ealston, Songs of the Russian People, pp. 211-214. Cp. the Suffolk 
sayings about the robin, "You must not take robin's eggs; if you do, you will 
get your legs broken," "It is unlucky to kill a robin," etc., The Book of Days, 
vol. i. p. 678. 

5 F. Bonney, quoted by J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. i. p. 50. 


20 Macedonian Folklore 

Macedonia interpreted symbolically as indicating " health and 
abundance " ; but the custom bears a strong general analogy to 
the one cited above. Our explanation derives additional support 
from another custom which seems to be based on a similar 

The first drawn tooth is kept by the child for a while care- 
fully and then is thrown on the roof, accompanied with this 
invocation of the crow : 

Na, fcovpovva /jl , fcoKtcako 
Kal So? jjbov aihepevtOy 
N<x poKdvlfyo ra fcovfc/cid, 
Ntt rpcoyco 7ra^L/judSc. 

"O dear crow, here is a tooth of bone, 
Take it and give me a tooth of iron instead, 
That I may be able to chew beans 
And to crunch dry biscuits." 

Now, the practice of disposing of a child's first tooth in a 
more or less mysterious way is well-nigh universal, and so is the 
formula which accompanies the action. The closest parallel 
to the Macedonian custom is, strangely enough, presented by 
the natives of the Seranglao and Gorong archipelagoes, where 
the tooth is thrown on the roof. The South Slavonians teach 
their children to throw the tooth into a dark corner and say, 
" Mouse, mouse, there is a bone tooth ; give me an iron tooth 
instead." The words, it will be seen, are almost identical with 
those used by the Macedonian children, but the animal appealed 
to is, as in the majority of such cases, a mouse or rat, owing to 
the firmness and excellence by which the teeth of these rodents 
are distinguished. The practice in these cases is explained on the 
doctrine of the sympathy which continues to subsist between the 
extracted tooth and its former owner. 1 This idea connects the 
Macedonian custom with the swallow custom already discussed, 
and the appeal to the crow is probably due to an adaptation 
of the tooth-ceremony to some child's crow-song correspond- 
ing to the swallow-song, a hypothesis which becomes more than 

1 J. G-. Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. i. pp. 52, 53. 

January, February and March 21 

probable when we consider that such a song (Kopcovta/na) was 
actually known in antiquity and is mentioned by Athenaeus 1 
in connection with the swallow-song (xe\i86vicr/xa). In both 
cases we find the bird appealed to as a bringer of good luck 
generally, and in both cases something connected with the child 
is thrown to it : a skein to the swallow, a tooth to the crow. 
The motive in both seems to be to draw upon the child 
a blessing through the sympathetic agency of things which 
belonged to it. 

The first three days of March are known by the name of 
Drymiais (Apy/jitac?). Daring those days the peasants refrain 
from washing clothes and from bathing. They do not prune 
their trees nor do they plant ; for they believe that the trees 
will at once wither. The same belief holds with regard to the 
last three days and all Wednesdays and Fridays of the month. 
As a proof that those days are unlucky, especially for gardening 
purposes, they advise you to try the following experiment: 
Take seven twigs, strip them of their leaves, mark them each 
with the name of a day of the week, and then put them in a 
jug filled with water. If you examine them a few days later, 
you will find that they have all put forth new leaves, except 
those marked with the names of the fatal days. 2 

In some parts of Macedonia the superstition prevails that a 
priest should not divulge to his parishioners on which day of 
the week will be the first of March, or he will lose his wife. 
The origin of this belief is enveloped in obscurity, the usual 
attribute of folk-beliefs. It may possibly have arisen in an 
effort on the part of the Church to prevent the people from 
continuing the pagan rites customary on this day. In any case, 
it is not devoid of interest as a historic survival from times 
when village communes were so ignorant as to depend entirely 
on their pastors for information regarding days and seasons. 

The Macedonian peasants, partial as they are to March, are 
not blind to his defects. The bitterness of March winds has 
earned the month the nickname of the 'Flayer' (TScipri]^). 

1 Athen. vin. 359. 

2 We shall speak on this suhject at greater length in dealing with the same 
superstition in the chapter on August. 

22 Macedonian Folklore 

His mutability of mood and addiction to sudden changes are 
emphasized by numerous sayings : 

O M.apTr]$ o>9 to yLcio/JLa to yfro(fcdei, 
a>9 to fipdSv to j3po/j,a€L. 

"Sir March before midday 
With frost the lamb will slay ; 
But, ere the sun doth sink, 
With heat he makes it stink." 

MapTi/? evi leal xdiSia /cdvei * 
U6t6 /cXalei, 7t6t€ yeXdei. 

" March, like a baby spoilt, is full of whims : 
At times he cries, at times with fun he brims." 

Our own peasants, a propos of the inconstancy of March 
weather, observe : " March comes in like a lamb, and goes out 
like a lion." 1 The reverse is also supposed to be true. 

His apparently unaccountable transitions from a fine to 
a foul temper are explained by the Macedonians on the 
hypothesis that March has two wives, one of whom is young 
and fair, gay and laughter-loving; the other old and ugly, 
morose and peevish. When he looks at the former, he smiles 
with pleasure; when at the latter, he frowns in anger. 

The appetizing effect of March's chilly blasts is described as 
the month's excessive greediness : 

MdpTTJS 7rez/T67ift5)LtaT09 

Kat iraki Treivao-fjuevos. 

" March never, never has his fill ; 
Meals five a day : he's hungry still." 

The sun of March is supposed to be fatal to a girl's 
complexion : 

t Oir(£>')(ei tcoprjv dfcpiftr}, 

TOV MdpTTJ tfXlO? fJirfV T7] hifj. 

"Who has a daughter fair 
Of March's sun beware." 

1 R. Inwards, Weather Lore, p. 24. Cp. "If the old year goes out like a 
lion, the new year will come in like a lamb," ib. p. 5. 

January, February and March 23 

A red and white thread worn round the wrist is supposed 
to act as a charm and to preserve a damsel from the rays 
of March's sun. 

To revert from the ornamental to the useful, the folk-sage 
counsels his friends in didactic fifteen-syllable verse: 

Tov M.dpT7) £vXa (j>v\aye' fjurjv tca^r)*; ra TraXovrcia. 

" In the month of March save thy firewood, and do not burn up thy 

The same idea is implied in another saw, rather too 
Hogarthian for translation : 

M.dpT7)<$ opdo^ecrrrj^ ical TraXovfcofeavrrjs. 

It would not be amiss to conclude the delinquencies of this 
eccentric month with the Macedonian version of a legend 
familiar to students of our own North-country weather-lore. 
It is said that there was once a poor old woman, and she had 
an only goat, which she had preserved most anxiously through 
a long and severe winter. At the end of March, deceived by 
an exceptionally fine day, she ventured to let her goat out 
to graze, and, in the exuberance of her joy, she defied March 
by snapping her fingers at him and exclaiming in derision, 
"pritz March, I fear thee no longer!" But alas! her self- 
congratulation was premature. March, exasperated by the 
insult, determined to punish the old lady and to this end he 
borrowed three days from his neighbour April. During this 
new lease of life he brought about so keen a frost, that the 
poor old woman's goat was starved to death. Another form 
of the same story, prevalent at Liakkovikia, allots to the old 
woman three kids, and adds that not only the kids but their 
mistress also were frozen to death on a spot outside the village, 
to this day called The old woman s leap (Trj$ ypyds to Trr}^7]fxa)} 

1 A. A. TovgLov, *'H Kara to ILayyaLOv Xc6pct,' p. 44. 

24 Macedonian Folklore 

This story will bring to most readers' minds the old Scotch 
rhyme of 

The Borrowing Days. 

March borrowed from Aperill 
Three days and they were ill. 
The first began wi' wind and weet, 
The next come in with snaw and sleet, 
The third was sic a bitter freeze, 
It froze the birds' claws to the trees. 

A variant of this rhyme alludes to "three hoggs upon a 
hill." March for the purpose of " garring them dee" borrowed 
three days "from Aperill," and tried the "wind and weet" etc. 
However the sheep, one is glad to hear, survived the ordeal, for 
it is related that 

When the three were past and gane, 

The three silly hoggs came hirpling hame. 1 

1 The first version I had from the lips of an old Scotchman, and it differs 
slightly from the text of the Neivcastle Leader, reproduced in St James's Gazette, 
April 2, 1901, whence comes the latter variant given above. For other versions 
see B. Inwards, Weather Lore, pp. 27 foil. 

Several interesting details concerning this mysterious loan and the kindred 
superstition of the Faoilteach, or the first days of February, borrowed by that 
month from January, are to be found in The Book of Days, vol. i. p. 448. 



It is perhaps more than a coincidence, and at all events 
quite appropriate, that the great Christian feast of the Resurrec- 
tion — redemption and universal renovation — should fall at 
that time of year when Nature herself awakening hears 

The new-creating word, and starts to life, 

In every heighten'd form, from pain and death 

For ever free. 1 

This coincidence reveals itself in many curious customs con- 
nected with the festival, and enables us to interpret several 
popular practices which otherwise would be unintelligible. 
In fact, we most probably have here one of the numerous 
instances of old pagan observances surviving beneath the 
tolerant cloak of Christianity — the past peeping through the 
mask of the present. It is a thesis no longer in need of 
demonstration that the new religion, wherever it has penetrated, 
from the shores of Crete to those of Iceland, has everywhere 
displayed a far-seeing eagerness to enlist in its service what 
might assist its own propagation in existing belief and prac- 
tice. Macedonia forms no exception to this general rule. 

The heathen festival on which Easter was grafted in Greek- 
speaking countries most likely was the Lesser Eleusinia, the 
return of Persephone, which symbolised the resurrection of 
Nature and which the ancient Hellenes celebrated about this 

1 Thomson's Seasons. 

26 Macedonian Folklore 

time of year. The modern Macedonians are, of course, utterly 
unconscious of any incongruity between the creed which they 
profess and the customs which they observe. To the peasant, 
Easter is simply a season of rejoicing. If he were pressed for 
the reason of his joy, he would probably be unable to give a 
clear answer or, if he gave one, red eggs and roasted lambs 
would be found to play as important a part in his conception 
of the festival as the religious ceremonies which accompany and 
sanctify the proceedings. His view is vividly expressed in the 
children's rhymes which are often heard in Macedonia at this 
season : 

Tlore va-pS* 7] Uacr^aXid, 

Me rd KOKKiva r avyd, 

Me t dpvovhi '? tov Tafia, etc. 

" Oh, when will Easter come, bringing with her red eggs, a lamb in a 
tray, etc." 

The Easter festivities are ushered in by a long period of 
strict abstinence known as the Great Forty-Day Fast {tj MeydXr) 
HapaKoarr) — Lent). The two Sundays before Lent are re- 
spectively called Meat-Sunday (' Airo/cped) and Cheese-Sunday 
(Tvptvrj). The week between them answers to the Carnival 
of Western Christendom, and during it, in the big towns on 
the coast the usual merriment is heightened by masquerades 
(jcapvafidXia or fjuaaicapdhes), a custom which, as the name 
implies, has been borrowed from Italy and is not to be confused 
with similar observances prevalent in the interior of the 
country at other times of the year. It also corresponds with 
the Russian Mdslyanitsa, or Butter-Week. Cheese-Sunday is 
made the occasion of many interesting observances. Before 
proceeding to a description of these, however, it may be well 
to note some points of resemblance between the new and the 
old celebrations. 

The modern Western Carnival has been traced to the 
ancient Roman Saturnalia, and this parallelism has led folk- 
lorists to conjecture that Lent also may be the descendant 
"under a thin disguise, of a period of temperance which was 
annually observed, from superstitious motives, by Italian 

Eastertide 27 

farmers long before the Christian era/' 1 Should this hypo- 
thesis be established, then the Eastern Meat- Week might 
likewise be ascribed to the old Cronia, which was the Greek 
counterpart of the Saturnalia. The Eastern Lent might 
further be compared with the fast which preceded the celebra- 
tion of the mysteries of Eleusis, in commemoration of Demeter's 
long abstinence from food during her search for her lost 
daughter. But precise identification is hardly possible owing to 
the slightness of the evidence at our command. What is 
absolutely certain is the fact that abstinence from food and 
from the gratification of all other appetites was and still is 
practised by various races at seed-time "for the purpose of 
thereby promoting the growth of the crops," 2 a kind of charm, 
acting through the sympathetic connection which is supposed 
to exist between the sower and the seed. 

Cheese-Sunday (Kvpta/cr} 7-779 TvpLvfjs). 

The boys of each village rise early in the morning and, 
divided into several parties, go forth collecting bundles of fire- 
wood, which they pile up on the tops of the heights and hills 
in the neighbourhood. These preparations completed, they 
amuse themselves during the rest of the day by throwing 
stones with a sling, each shot accompanied with these mys- 
terious words : " Whithersoever this arrow hies, may the flea 
follow in its track" (oir Trdrj rj aaycra tcr) 6 ifrvWo? fcarcnrohi)? 
In some districts, of Macedonia these slings are replaced by 
actual cross-bows generally constructed of a fragment of a 
barrel-hoop, which is passed through a hole at the end of a 
stock. The missile, — a long nail as a rule — laid in the groove 
of the stock, is propelled by a string drawn tight across the 
bow and held fast by a catch, which is nailed to the stock, 
acting as a sort of trigger. At nightfall the bonfires built up 
in the morning are kindled, and the boys jump over them. 

1 J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. in. p. 146. 

2 lb. vol. ii. pp. 209 foil. 

3 A. A. Tovaiov, *'H /caret to UayyaLov Xwpa,' p. 41. 

28 Macedonian Folklore 

Identical customs are observed in several Slavonic countries. 
" In some parts of Russia/' says Ralston, " the end or death of 
winter is celebrated on the last day of the Butter- Week, by the 
burning of ' the straw Mujik ' — a heap of straw, to which each 
of the participators in the ceremony contributes his portion." 
In Bulgaria " during the whole week, the children amuse them- 
selves by shooting with bows and arrows, a custom which... is 
supposed, by some imaginative writers, to have referred in 
olden times to the victory obtained by the sunbeams — the 
arrows of the far-darting Apollo — over the forces of cold and 
darkness." 1 

The custom of kindling bonfires on the first Sunday in Lent 
and of throwing missiles into the air prevails in many parts of 
Western Europe. In Swabia the arrows and stones are replaced 
by thin round pieces of wood. In all these cases of pagan 
survival 2 the bonfires are built by boys on the crests of moun- 
tains and hills as in Macedonia. Whether the Greeks of this 
province have borrowed the pastime of stone and arrow shooting 
from their Slav neighbours or have inherited it from their own 
remote ancestors, 3 it would be difficult to say. But in any 
case it is an interesting relic of bygone times. Apart from any 
symbolical or ritual significance which may or may not lurk 
in the practice, the use of the sling and the bow by the 
Macedonian boys at play is instructive as a conspicuous 
instance of a custom outliving in the form of a game the 
serious business of which it originally was only an imitation. 
Toy bows and slings are extremely popular among boys all 
over Europe at certain times of the year, and keeping up, as 
they do, the memory of a warlike art now extinct, are regarded 
by ethnologists as sportive survivals of ancient culture, if not 
of ancient cult. 4 The bonfires and the flea will reappear in 
connection with the Midsummer festivities. 

1 Ralston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 210. 

2 J. G. Prazer,. The Golden Bough, vol. in. pp. 238 foil. 

3 In ancient times the Kaunians in Asia Minor, who regarded themselves as 
being of Cretan origin, used to turn out armed, " hitting the air with their 
spears and saying that they were expelling the foreign gods." Hdt. I. 172. 

4 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. I. p. 73. 

Eastertide 29 

In the evening of Cheese-Sunday it is the custom for the 
younger members of the community to call on their elder 
relatives, godfathers and godmothers, in order to beg forgiveness 
for their trespasses and beseech their blessing. Women, for some 
reason or other, take with them a cake, an orange or a lemon 
as a propitiatory offering to those on whom they call. The sym- 
bolic meaning of these gifts, if they ever had one, has long since 
gone the way of all tradition. It may be worth while, however, 
to recall that this amiable act of duty was once in vogue among 
our own folk also. On the mid Sunday of Lent it was the 
custom to go a-mothering, that is to pay a formal visit to one's 
parents, especially the female one, and to take to them some 
slight gift, such as a cake or a trinket. Whence the day itself 
was named Mothering Sunday. 1 The similarity between the 
old English and the modern Macedonian practice is well 
illustrated by Herrick's lines to Dianeme: 

He to thee a simnell 2 bring, 
'Gainst thou go'st a-mothering ; 
So that, when she blesseth thee, 
Half that blessing thou'lt give me. 3 

The analogy extends to the festivity peculiar to the day. 
At supper-time a tripod is set near the hearth, or in the middle 
of the room, and upon it is placed a wooden or copper tray 
(aivi). Round the table thus extemporized sit the members 
of the family cross-legged, with the chief of the household at 
the head. The repast is as sumptuous as befits the eve of a 
long fast, and a cake forms one of the most conspicuous items 
on the menu. Before they commence eating the younger 
members of the family kneel to their elders (icavovv or @d%ow 
/jberdvoia) and obtain absolution, after which performance the 
banquet begins. 

When the plates are removed there follows an amusing game 
called 'Gaping' (^aovca) and corresponding to our Christmas 
game of Bob-cherry or Bobbing Apple. A long thread is tied 

1 The Book of Days, vol. i. p. 336. 

2 i.q. Lent-Cake. 

3 Hesperides 685. 

30 Macedonian Folklore 

to the end of a stick, and from it is suspended a bit of con- 
fectionery (^a\/3a<?), or a boiled egg. The person that holds it 
bobs it towards the others who sit in a ring, with their mouths 
wide open, trying to catch the morsel by turns. Their struggles 
and failures naturally cause much jollity and the game soon 
gets exciting. This amusement is succeeded by songs sung 
round the table and sometimes by dancing. 

A quaint superstition attached to the proceedings of this 
evening deserves mention. If anyone of those present happens 
to sneeze, it is imperative that he should tear a bit off the front 
of his shirt, in order to ward off evil influences. 

KaOaprj '/3Bo/uidSa. 

The days that follow form a sharp contrast to this feast. 
With Monday begins Cleaning- Week (Kadaprj '/3$o/j,d$a), a 
period of purification both of body and of soul. The cooking 
utensils are washed and polished with a vast deal of bustle and 
noise ; the floors are scrubbed, all traces of the preceding 
rejoicings are scrupulously effaced, and the peasant household 
assumes an unwonted look of puritanical austerity. The gloom 
is deepened by the total abstention from meat and drink, 
which is attempted by many and accomplished by a few during 
the first three days of the week. This period of rigid and 
uncompromising fast, called Tptfiepo, is concluded on Wednesday 
evening. Then a truly lenten pie of boiled cabbages and 
pounded walnuts, called liptfiep6irr]Tra, is solemnly eaten and, 
undoubtedly, relished by those who succeeded in going through 
the three days' starvation. 

In some places, however, the sanctimonious misery of this 
week is disturbed by certain feeble reflections of the festivities 
which went before. These spectral revivals of gaiety in various 
districts take various forms, and as a rule are confined to 
Monday. At Salonica, for instance, on the KaOaprj Aevrepa a 
band of youths dressed in kilts, so as to represent brigands, but 
wearing their masks on the back of their heads, are allowed by 
the police to play at highwaymen. They parade the streets, 
with a roasted lamb, stuck on the top of a pole, at the head of 

Eastertide 31 

the procession, singing Klephtic songs, and when they have 
reached the open country, they seize a point of vantage, hold 
up all carriages that happen to pass by, and extort from the not 
unwilling passengers a tribute of money. Then they adjourn 
to a meadow where they eat, drink, sing, and make merry. 
The proceedings bear a close resemblance to the 'Montem' 
festivity once popular at Eton. 1 

At Serres and Melenik the people repair to picnics in the 
country. In the latter place the usual resort is a hill crowned 
by an old monastery. The natives in describing the festival 
told me that " they went to pull out the serpent " (va ftyaXovv 
to (fcelBi) — now a mere and all but meaningless phrase, but 
possibly a survival of a belief akin to the Highland superstition 
that " a week previous to St Bridget's Day the serpents are 
obliged to leave their holes under ground." 2 The date of this 
Western feast (1st Feb. o.s.) corresponds roughly with the 
time in which Lent usually begins. The evidence which we 
possess does not warrant the assumption that the practice has 
any connection with ophiolatry. Yet it seems to point to some 
symbolic meaning of new life derived from the serpent's annual 
"renewal by casting its old slough." 3 

At Sochos, again, during this week they have masquerades. 
Youths dressed in fustanellas execute military dances with 
swords; others array themselves in goat-skins, covering head 
and face beneath a conical cap (icaXiraicC) decorated with flowers 
and tassels, while strings of monstrous bells dangle from their 
waists. Thus formidably adorned they stop the damsels in the 
street, examining their head -gear for coins and abstracting as 
many as they can find. They also lie in wait round the corners 
and try to frighten the unwary passer-by into liberality. Finally 
they betake themselves to the open space in the middle of 
the village, reserved for dancing (^ecro^wpt), and there they 
make merry on the proceeds of their sportive robbery. 

1 For a very interesting account of this festival see The Book of Bays, 
vol. ii. p. 665. 

2 J. G. Campbell, Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 
p. 225. 

3 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. n. p. 241. 

32 Macedonian Folklore 

Tov Aa^dpov. 

The Feast of Lazarus is also in some districts made the 
occasion of song and rejoicing. At Nigrita, for example, on 
that day girls and boys go about the streets singing and dancing 
and collecting presents — a form of begging known to the 
ancients by the name of dyeppos, and to our own peasants as 
going a-corning> gooding, and so forth. The dancers are called 
Aa^apivacs, and their songs Aa^aptavd or Aa^apccortfca (sc. 
TpayovSca). Most of these compositions have been handed 
down from mother to daughter for ages, and unfortunately 
have suffered much in transmission. I give below some of the 
least mutilated fragments which I was enabled to pick up. 
As the reader will see, the subject of the song is for the most 
part adapted to the circumstances of the person to whom it is 


To a damsel betrothed. 

ILw? iral^ 6 Tovp/co? r aXoyo /cy 6 <Ppdy/co? to /capdftt, 
''Etct' irai^ei k eW<? veiovTai/cos p,€ rrjv /caXrjv dirwyei. 
'2 rd yovard rrjv eiraipve, \ rd pbdrta ttjv fyCkovae, 
'S rd fiana, \ rd fxarofyvWa tcf) dvdpbeaa '? rd <j>pv8ia. 

"As the Turk dallies with his steed and the Frank with his ship, 
Even so dallies a youth with his fair one. 
He will take her on his knees and kiss her on the eyes, 
On the eyes, on the eyelids, and between the eyebrows." 


To a love-lorn youth. 

Ke£ V dyaTras, \ef3evTrj fi\ arelXe yvpeyfre, 

Xt€lK€ tt]v dhepfyrj crov irpo^evrjTiaa-a. 

K?? dp Se' crov Soocrovv, iraki o"vpe fiova^o^ 

'Az>e/3a '9 to 7rr}yd8c icrj dpyo\dfiriQ-e, 

Na fia^co^Tovv KOireXkais 0X0 epboptyaus, 

Ndpdf) Kal kuvt) ttov #e'?, fceivrj V dyairas. 

Eastertide 33 

KXeyfr ttjp, Xefiivrrj fi, xkeyfr rrjv, fcXiifr rrjv 7rephifca 9 
^vp Ti)v '9 ra KOpfiovKoyLcij 1 '9 t<z \fnj\a fiovvd, 
Ke£ ttov \a\ovv r drjSovia teal r dypia irovXid. 

"Where thy love dwells, my brave youth, thither send and ask. 
Send thy sister as a match-maker. 
And if they give her not to thee, go thyself. 
Go up to the fountain and set to wooing, 
That maidens passing fair may be gathered there, 
That amongst them may also come she whom thou lovest. 
Then carry her off, my brave youth, carry her off, carry off the pretty 

Take her to the hills, to the high mountain-peaks, 
Where the nightingales and the wild birds sing." 


To a newly-married woman, 

Bot> £ov8d 2 fx , tl Tpaveveaai /cat aepvei? rb tca/Jidpt, ; 
To 7tw? vd fjbfjv rpaveiHDficu teal aepvco to fca/ndpv ; 
'Efyco '^ct> dvrpa fiaaCked teal iredepbv d<f>6VT7), 
Kal 7T€0epd fSaaikiaraa teal 'yon ftacrCkoirovka. 

"'My dear little bride, wherefore dost thou draw thyself up, and hold 

thy head high?' 
1 How can I but draw myself up and hold my head high ? 
I have a king for a husband and a lord for a father-in-law, 
My mother-in-law is a queen, and a princess I.'" 


To a young mother. 

M.dva V <re ydpve 6 Oebs rd Svo TrepLo-repovSta, 
Mdva pi, vd ra 7rept/caXfj<; Kvpco fi vd rov $oi;d£r)<;, 
Na ^alprjcaL '? to yd/juo 7-979, v dWd^y? '9 ttj x a P^ T9 ? ? - 
Na 84779 fcrj Vo rbv fc6p<f>o 7-779 irepBUia vd yvpl^ovv, 
Hep&iicia, ypvaoirephaca, y^pvad /naKafiarivia. 

1 This word is new to me, but I take it to be a synonym of Kop<j>o(3oijpia f 
' hill-tops. ' 

2 A synonym of the dim. w<f>ovda, ' a dear little bride/ from the Bulgarian 
bozia, 'bride.' 

A. F. 3 

34 Macedonian Folklore 

" Mother to whom God has given this pair of tender dovelets, 
Mother dear, pray for them and praise the Lord for them. 
Mayest thou rejoice at her marriage, dress for her wedding ; 
Mayest thou witness a flock of young partridges encircling her bosom, 
Young partridges, golden partridges, partridges of purest gold." 


The enterprising lover. 

r/ Ez/a<? Xefiivrrjs teal VTeXrjs zeal 'vd '£to 7raX\r)fcdpi 

Me rats fia%alpai? irep warel, ttj X^P a 4 >0 /^ € P^ €l ' 

Trj x™P a tyofiipL^e teal to?)? Kor^apLTraaijBe^* 

" rid Bo pH re T7] KaXovBd p,ov i yea 86 pu re rrj Kakrj puov, 

Na <j>Kid<r(D (TTTiTia TrerpcoTa icai aicdXcus puap/jLapeviais. 

Na <j)/cid<T(o teal r d\wvi puov '? rrjv die pa ttj doXdaaa, 

Na Ko<JKivi%(D pbdXapba vd Trecpr pbapyapcrdpc, 

K?) 7ro rd fcoo-Kii/lcrpLara vd Biv rrj? ka^apivais" 

"A brave youth, a noble gallant lad, 

Is strolling armed with knives and threatening the village ; 

He threatened the village and its notables thus : 
'Come, give my fair love to me, come give up my fair one, 

That I may build a stone palace with marble stairs, 

That I may build my threshing-floor on the shore of the sea, 

To sift gold, and let pearls drop beneath, 

And of the siftings give a share to the Maids of Lazarus/ " 

At Liakkovikia the same custom prevails on the morning 
of Palm Sunday (Kvptafcrj rwv Baccov). As the congregation 
streams out of church, the girls of the village form parties 
of threes and fours and, each holding a gold-embroidered 
handkerchief or two, go about singing outside each house 
songs appropriate to the age and condition of the occupants. 
The carol is accompanied by more or less elegant contortions 
of the body and vigorous wavings of the handkerchiefs. The 
songstresses are known as Bato-rpcus or ' Palm Maids ' and 
their carols as Hatritca. 1 

1 A. A. Yovatov, *'H Kara to Hdyyaiov Xwpa,' p. 45. 

Eastertide 35 

Holy Week (MeyaXny ' ffSofidSa). 

Holy Thursday (MeyaXi] Ue^>rrj). In some districts on 
this day, as well as on Lady Day (March 25th), the people 
are in the habit of hanging from the balconies and the windows 
of their houses red kerchiefs or sashes. On this day also the 
Paschal eggs are dyed. The peasant mother takes the first 
coloured egg and with it crosses (Siaaravpcovec) her child's face 
and neck, saying : K.6/c/civo adv r avyo, xal yepo adv rrj irerpa, 
that is, "Mayest thou grow red as is this egg, and strong as a 
stone." This egg is then placed near the icon of the Panaghia 
and is left there until the following year, when a new one takes 
its place. The red colour of the Easter eggs and of the kerchiefs 
mentioned above is explained by folklorists as referring to the 
brightness of spring. On this day they also make a kind of 
cakes, called from their shape " turtle-doves " (SetcoxTovpaL?), 
with a clove or a grain of pepper doing duty as an eye. 

Good Friday (MeydXrj TiapacrKevrf). On this day the 
peasants eschew all kinds of food prepared with vinegar, 
because, they say, it was on this day that the Jews moistened 
our Lord's lips with vinegar. 

Holy Saturday (MeydXo Sa/3/S«To). They are careful not 
to wash their heads, lest their hair should turn grey. 

Easter Sunday (IIa<r)£a, IIacr;£<2\£a, or A.ap.nrpri, "Bright"). 
This last name corresponds to the Russian Svyetlaya and may 
be compared with our ow r n Easter, 1 both of which appellations 
suggest brightness. The Resurrection is celebrated twice. 
First at a midnight mass on the eve (Ylpcorr) 'Avdo-racris), and 
again about mid-day on Easter Day (Aevrepa ' Avdo-raai^). 
The first is also called KaXo? A070?, or the "Good Word." 
The gospel for the day is read out in the churchyard beneath the 
star-bespangled sky and is immediately followed by the hymn 
beginning with the words " Christ is risen " (Xpio-Tos avecm?), 
in which the whole congregation joins. The announcement 

1 A. -Sax. Edstre, O.H.G. Ostara, a goddess of light or spring, in honour of 
whom a festival was celebrated in April, whence this month was called Easter- 
mdnath. Dr Annandale's Diet. s.v. 


36 Macedonian Folklore 

of the "good word" is greeted with loud peals of fire-arms 
and with the sound of bells or the wood gongs (crTj/juavrpa) still 
in use in some parts of the country. In the midst of this uproar 
the priest holds up a lighted candle and calls on the congregation 
to " Come and receive light " (Aevre Xdfiere <£&)<?). The faithful 
obey the summons with great alacrity. There is an onrush at 
the priest, and those who get near him first kindle their candles 
at the very fountain-head of light ; the less fortunate, or less 
muscular, ones have to be content with illumination at second 
hand. 1 But the result from a purely aesthetic point of view is 
the same. The dark night is suddenly lighted up with hundreds 
of small flickering flames, trembling in the hands of people 
anxious to escape from the fire-arms, squibs, and crackers, which 
boom and hiss in dangerous proximity all round them. 

On the tapers secured at the cost of so much exertion, not 
unattended by some risk to life and limb, is set a propor- 
tionally high value. The miraculous powers attributed to 
these Easter tapers may be compared to those which were 
ascribed to the Candlemas candles in Catholic times in 
England. 2 The women, on their return from church, use 
these tapers for the purpose of burning the bugs, in the pious 
hope that they will thus get rid of them for ever — a custom 
which agrees well with the extermination of fleas : the avowed 
object of the Macedonian bonfires. 

The ceremony of " receiving light " is, of course, symbolical, 
and true believers entertain no doubt that the light is the light 
of Christ. Sceptical students, however, have long since arrived 
at the conclusion that here again we are confronted by a survival 
of paganism : that the " new light " is only a cousin german to 
the " new fire " and to the bonfires, customary at this time of 
year in many widely severed lands, and that the real remote 

1 So far as my own experience goes, I am unable to confirm Mr Frazer's 
impious suspicion " that the matches which bear the name of Lucifer have some 
share in the sudden illumination " (The Golden Bough, vol. in. p. 247). The 
people are too unenlightened to venture on such illicit methods of illumination, 
and far too economical to waste a match, when there are so many candles 
burning close at hand. 

2 For some verses setting forth these wonderful virtues see The Book of 
Days, vol. i. p. 213. 

Eastertide 37 

meaning of all these kindlings is to procure heat and sunshine 
for the crops by means of magical ceremonies 1 — the destruction 
of noxious vermin being a later development. The keeping of 
the fire alive throughout the Paschal Week, which is the 
practice in several parts of Macedonia, forms another proof 
of the underlying notion. To make the case stronger, in some 
districts of the country until quite recently the people indulged 
in the annual cremation of a straw 'Judas' — an efBgy which 
finds its counterpart in many quarters and which is interpreted 
as a representative of the old tree-spirit or spirit of vegetation. 2 
To return to the service. 

The congregation having lighted their tapers turn towards 
the church and find the doors closed. They knock upon them 
chanting in chorus : " Lift the gates, ye rulers of ours, and 
ye eternal gates be lifted ; for there will enter Christ, the King 
of glory !" To this a voice from within answers : "Who is this 
King of glory ? " Those without reply : " He is a Lord strong 
and powerful. He is a Lord mighty in war!" 3 Thereupon 
the doors are thrown open, and the congregation troop into the 
building, where the service is resumed. 

The words " Christ is risen " are the signal for breaking the 
long fast of Lent, and many take to church a red egg and 
a bun which, as soon as the words are uttered, they devour 
with pardonable eagerness. After service the peasant mothers 
secretly place under their children's pillows red eggs, and 
when the little ones wake in the morning, they are told 
that this is a present brought in the dead of night by 
Paschalia, a female personification of Easter, just as English 
children believe, or used to believe, that the stocking which 

1 J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. in. pp. 245 foil. 

2 lb. p. 314. The custom still survives in a vigorous form at Therapia, the 
fashionable summer resort of Constantinople. The natives of that suburb are 
in the habit of burning on Good Friday a number of * Jews ' made of cast-off 
clothes stuffed with straw. The Daily Chronicle of May 2, 1902, contains a 
graphic description of the custom by its Constantinople correspondent. 

3 ""Apare 7ri5Xas ol apxovres rffiufv kclI iTrdpdrjre 7n5\ai al&vtat, el<r€\eij<reTai yap 6 
PaaiXetis ttjs ddi-rjs XpKrrds.'" " Tis ovtos 6 /3a<riAei)s rrjs Soi-rjs ; " " Ktipios Kparaibs 
/ecu 5vvar6s, Ktjpios taxvpbs kv Troh£p.i$" A. A. Tovaiov, (t H Kara, rb ILdyyaiov Xwpa,' 
p. 45. 

38 Macedonian Folklore 

is hung from the bedpost on Christmas Eve is filled by Santa 

To the second service, which takes place in the day-time, 
the people go with lighted tapers, and when it is over, the 
congregation embrace, forgiving and forgetting mutual offences, 
and salute each other with the formula : " Christ is risen/' 
to which the answer is "He is risen indeed!" ('AXrjOax; 
avea-TT}), and this continues to be the regular form of greeting 
until Ascension Day. The Easter feast lasts three days, during 
which visits are exchanged, the visitors being presented with 
a red egg. The piece de resistance of the Easter banquet is 
a lamb roasted whole {a^axTapi). Indeed so indispensable 
is this item, that it has given rise to a proverb, Ilaa^dkia 
Xcoph dpvl Se yevercu, " Easter without a lamb is a thing that 
cannot be," applied to those whose ambition exceeds their 

On Easter Tuesday the people resort to the open country, 
where the girls dance and the youths amuse themselves by 
shooting at the mark (o-rjfidSi,), wrestling (TrdXatfia), jumping 
(7r^Sr?/xa), running (rpe^L/juo), the throwing of heavy stones 
{piXvovv T7) Trerpa) and similar sports, all possible successors 
to the old Greek games. 

A favourite song at Easter is one beginning as follows : 

^Hp0e to M.eya Sa/3/3aro, r)p(F rj MeydXrj Tie^Trj 
9 Hp0€ «:' 7] A.afjL7rpotcvpiafcr} fxe tov Kctkb tov Xoyo. 
±1 fiav aKXa^ei tov vyto k rj aoep<pr) tov Qoovet,, 
Tov £o)v to xpvo-ol^ovvapo, xP V(T0 paXaiiaTevio. 
Kal KLvrjcrav koX irdrfvav va irdv vd fieTaXdftovv. 

"Holy Saturday is come and Holy Thursday too, 
The Bright Sunday is also come with the Good Word. 
A mother dresses her son and his sister girds him, 
She girds him with a gold girdle, a girdle of pure gold. 
They set out to participate in the sacrament, etc." 

The sequel is only a variant of the gruesome story published 
elsewhere. 1 

1 See Songs of Modern Greece, p. 184, " The Excommunicated." 

Eastertide 39 

In some places, as Serres, the fire is not allowed to go out 
through the Paschal Week (Aiafcaivrjo-tfAos iffBo/Acis), which is 
considered as one day. 

First Sunday after Easter, or St Thomas s Day (rov ®o)fia). 

This Sunday is also celebrated with great eclat. After 
morning service the villagers go out to an open space where 
the sports are to be held. At Nigrita the favourite spot is on 
the sloping banks of a watercourse (Xa/cKos). To that place 
may early in the forenoon be seen repairing a miscellaneous 
crowd of country folk in festive mood and attire. A group 
of some twenty or thirty maids, with snow-white kerchiefs 
over their heads, leads the procession, singing various songs, 
among which the following is perhaps the most popular : 

H MapovSca 'Xiv(,G>Tiaaa Aevrepa fiepa icivqcre 
Na iray yea 'crffio^eo/JLa, 'aij/MO^oyfia, iraTo^topua, 
JLal a/cerrapvia hev eA,a^€, fiov Xd^e r dpyvpb raairiy 
Ka-6 Kpovei /jllo, Kal Kpovei 8uo, xal Kpovei rpels feat rea-aape^, 
Kal ireae t aarjpLoxai/JLa Kal (r/ceiraae rrj WlapovScd. 
^l\t] XaXircrav eftya^e, "XaXiro-a fi, <TKiae ra fiovvd, 
Na 7ra? V rrj pudva fi /butfvvfAa, va (povfcaXiay rr)? avXacs, 
Na crrpdoa rov Kapuo^a " 

"Maroudia, a maid of Achinos, 1 set out on a Monday 
To go for silver- earth, flooring-earth. 2 
She took not a common spade, but took a silver spade. 
She strikes once, she strikes twice, she strikes three and four times, 
And there fell the silver-earth and covered up Maroudia. 
She sent forth a shrill cry : * My voice, rend the mountains 
And carry to my mother a message to sweep the courts clean, 
To spread the carpet '" 

The song is not of a very high order as poetry, yet it is 
interesting as referring to an everyday occupation of the 
women of the district. 

1 A village close to the lake of the same name not far from Nigrita. 

2 A kind of hard earth with which the inhabitants smear the floors of their 

40 Macedonian Folklore 

Having reached the rendezvous, the damsels disperse and 
pick from the stones in the torrent-bed a kind of moss locally 
known as fjLa%6, and with it they dye their finger-tips and 
palms. In this excursion they are usually escorted by a 
cavalcade of young men, and, while they are busy embellishing 
their hands, their cavaliers run races. In the meantime the 
sports are in full swing. The prizes given to the winners vary 
according to the different events. Thus, for instance, the 
winner at running gets a lamb or a kid. He slings it across 
his shoulders and, preceded by an ear-rending band of drums 
{vraovXia) and pipes {^ovpvahes), leads the crowd away; the 
damsels follow dancing and singing. This event comes off in 
the morning. After lunch take place wrestling matches, the 
combatants being stripped to the waist. The prize for this 
event is likewise a lamb or kid, and the victor is greeted with 
loud rolling of drums, shrill screaming of pipes, firing of pistols 
and flint-locks, and promiscuous shouting and cheering from 
the crowd. These somewhat discordant noises gradually sub- 
side into song, and dancing ensues. 

This is only a local festival, but on the 2nd of May, I was 
told, there are held international games in which join wrestlers 
from as far as Sirpa, a village fifteen minutes' walk from 
Nigrita. The prizes on that occasion are on a proportionally 
larger scale, a bull or an ox being awarded to the first winner, 
and a * yearling goat ' (/jajXccopi) to the second best. 

The Feast of Rousa. 

On the feast of Mid-Pentecost {Meaoirevr^fcoo-Trj), that 
is on the twenty-fifth day after Easter, occurs a ceremony 
which has for its object the warding off of scarlatina (kqk- 
/civLTaa). At Melenik it is called Rousa or Rosa, a designation 
which some of the natives derive from the crimson colour of 
the eruption, accompanying the fever; but which may possibly 
be a remnant of the old Roman Rosalia or Feast of the Roses. 
Before entering upon a description of the rite as performed 
at the present day in Macedonia, it will be well to glance 
at the history of the festival in some other parts of the Greek 

Eastertide 41 

world. The name of the Roman festival (Povaakia) is pre- 
served among the peasants of the Peloponnesus, though it is 
no longer applied to a feast of roses. It is the common 
designation of a Feast of the Dead held on the Saturday 
before Whit-Sunday. This transference of the name, according 
to some authorities, 1 points to a closer relation of the modern 
observance to the ancient Greek Feast of Flowers (' KvOearripia) 
— a three days' festival of Dionysos, in the month of Anthe- 
sterion, that is about the end of February and beginning of 
March — which also was in a large measure a Feast of the 

Colonel Leake, writing at the beginning of the nineteenth 
century, records some interesting details concerning the feast 
at Parga. "They (viz. the customs) were collected on the 
1st of May, and the seven days following, when there was a 
festival (iravr)<yvpi) at the expense of Venice, which was called 
the Rosalia (77 'FcoaaXia). On the eighth day, the 'Pcoaa- 
Xl&tcli, or keepers of the feast of Rosalia, had a sham fight 
{irXaarov TroXe/juov), of two parties dressed, one as Italians, 
the other as Turks. The latter were made prisoners and 
carried before the Proveditore, who dismissed them with a 
present. It was customary for the Proveditore on this occasion 
to pardon an exile or criminal for whom the archons might 
intercede." 2 

The festival as performed at Melenik has nothing to do 
either with the dead or with customs and criminals. Its aim 
is purely sanitary, and it is exclusively confined to children 
of both sexes. The children rise betimes and assemble in a 
place fixed upon on the eve. Three girls are deputed to go 
round to three different houses and beg at each of them a 
small quantity of flour, which they bring to the meeting-place. 
This flour is handed to a girl who must bear a name unique 
in the neighbourhood. She sifts it with a sieve which she 
holds behind her back, then kneads it and forms it into 

1 See the views of Prof. Politis summarised in Mr Eennell Rodd's The 
Customs and Lore of Modern Greece, p. 139. 

2 Leake, Travels in Northern Greece , vol. i. p. 524. Note II. to Ch. V. 
On Parga. 

42 Macedonian Folklore 

ring-shaped cakes {icokovpia), which are baked in a small 
toy-oven built for the nonce. While this is doing, the rest 
of the girls and boys of the party run round to other houses 
in the neighbourhood and collect flour, butter, honey, sesame- 
oil, etc. Out of these materials the eldest among them make 
a number of little rolls, which are baked in an ordinary public 
oven, and cook other viands. When all is ready, boys and 
girls sit down to a banquet, followed by songs and dancing. 
Towards evening the party breaks up, and the children disperse 
to their several homes. 

The ring-shaped cakes, which were made by the girl of the 
unique name and baked in the specially built little oven, are 
divided among them and are hung up to dry behind a door. 
Whenever anyone of the children who participated in the fete 
is attacked by scarlatina, or any kindred disease, a piece of 
these cakes is pounded and sprinkled over the skin, which 
is previously smeared with molten sugar, honey, or sesame-oil. 
This is supposed to be an infallible cure. 

In certain other districts the rite has been simplified. The 
children go round begging flour, oil, etc., and out of these 
ingredients a pie (7rovydr<ra) is made in each house separately. 
The children partake of it singing. 

Though I have noticed at some length the possible con- 
nection of the festival with the Rosalia, I am inclined to 
think that the Melenikiote interpretation is most likely correct. 
In that case the Scarlet Fever is by the Macedonians personified 
under the name of 'Vovcra, or the ' Red Woman ' — a personi- 
fication highly probable in itself, 1 and rendered especially so by 
the circumstance that the same disease is personified by the 
Persians in the shape of Al — a " blushing maid, with locks of 
flame and cheeks all rosy red." 2 

1 Parallel personifications of diseases will be noticed in the sequel. 

2 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 295. 



The First of April (WpayrairpCkid) is in some parts of 
Macedonia, as in most parts of Europe, believed to authorize 
harmless fibs, and many practical jokes are played on that day 
by the Macedonian wags. 

The sheep are shorn in this month, and for days together 
the air is filled with the plaintive voices of lambs unable to 
recognize their close-cropped dams, and by the impatient 
bleatings of ewes unable to understand why their offspring 
keep aloof. The shearing of sheep is especially associated with 
the feast of St George, of which more anon. 

Weather-lore also has something to say about April: 
*Airpl\r)<;, Mdr}$ icovrd rb Oipos, " April and May — harvest is 
drawing near," and '£ rcov dfiapTcoXcov rrj x^P a T ° v MaioTrpcXo 
yjiovi^i, " In the land of sinners it snows through April and 
May." 1 

April is also known among the peasants as * St George's 
Month ' ( c A ytofyecopjLTr)?), from the feast of that saint on the 
23rd. St George is a very popular saint. Even the brigands 
regard him as their patron and, after a successful coup, they 
generally assign a share of their booty to him, in the form of 
offerings to his church or image. It is a somewhat strange 
manifestation of piety ; yet the feelings by which it is dictated 
are no less sincere and genuine than were those which prompted 
the ancients to give a tenth of the enemy's spoil to the god 
who had helped them to win the victory, and perhaps it is quite 
as acceptable as any Te Deum. Besides, the St George of folk 

1 For English folk-sayings concerning April weather see The Book of Days, 
vol. i. p. 456 ; B. Inwards, Weather Lore, p. 28. 

44 Macedonian Folklore 

imagination is hardly the St George of the Church. Tradition 
has invested his character with attributes and embellished his 
career with achievements which would have surprised the old 
gentleman considerably. Readers of Percy's Reliques will re- 
member the romantic ballad 1 in which St George is described 
as the son of an English lord, borne away in infancy by " the 
weird Lady of the woods," and all the other incidents woven 
round his attractive personality. The Macedonian peasant also 
has many a quaint story to tell of his favourite saint. 

The song given below was dictated to the writer by a 
peasant girl of Sochos. From this composition it appears that 
St George is regarded as a kind of mediaeval knight on horse- 
back, armed in the orthodox fashion, and as the bearer of gifts 
to those who are fortunate enough to win his favour. 

Tot) f/ Al Tedopyrj to rpayovSi,. 

" f 'A£ TecbpyT] fcafiaWdpr} 
Me cnraOl KCLi juu€ Kovrapi, 
A69 fjue to /ckeihdtcL crov 
N' dvoL^co to fJuaTaKi aov [?] 

a ocoo tl e%€6? fieaa. 
" StTapc, icpiddpi, 
%7rvpl fjuapyapLTapi,." 
11 A09 Trj vv<j)7] fcdaTava 
Ka& top <ya/jL7rpo /capvSca, 
Kat ttj KaXrj fias iredepd 
OXo^pvaa jiavTrfKia, 
Kat tcl irat&ia /covTvXca." 

I. Ballad of St George. 

"St George, knight of the sword and spear, 

Give me thy little key that I may open thy little eye, [?] 

And see what thou carriest within," 
" Wheat and barley, and grains of pearl." 
"Give to the bride chestnuts and to the groom walnuts, 

To our dear mother-in-law kerchiefs of pure gold, 

And to the children pencils." 

1 The Birth of St George. 

April, May, and June 45 

In another ballad sung, like the above, on the saint's feast, 
St George plays rather an unchivalrous r6le. I will give here 
only the translation, as the text, which I took down at Nigrita, 
is merely a variant of a song already published in Passow's 
collection (No. 587). 1 

II. Ballad of St George. 

" A young Turk, the king's own grandson, falls in love with 
a Christian maid and wishes to make her his. He desires her ; 
but she desires him not. She runs away, placing hills and 
mountains between her pursuer and herself. In the way 
which she goes, she finds St George sitting at a deserted little 

' My lord St George, great be thy name! I beseech thee hide 
me this instant. Oh save me from the hands of the Turk V 

The marble walls were rent asunder, and the maid entered. 

At that very moment, lo ! the Turk arrived before St 
George. ' My lord St George, great be thy name ! The maid 
whom thou keepest here, I beseech thee give her to me. I 
will bring thee cartloads of candles, cartloads of frankincense, 

1 On comparing my version with Passow's again I find that the former, 
though by no means perfect, is not only fuller than Passow's but presents so 
many points of difference that it may be worth while to insert it : 

"Em fUKpo TovpKdirovXOf tov paaikea dyybvi, 

Mtd 'I'wfjLrjoirovX ay dirrjo'e /eat dtXei vd rrj irdpy, 

Ti? 0£\ei t de" tov 0Aet. 

Halpvet ret oprj dfJLirpoara ical to, fiovvd Vd Trivia. 

'2 t6 dpbfio birov irdaive, '$ rb 8p6/xo irov iraalvei, 

ISpLaic* rbv "At Yeuipyrj KaOovvrav <re pud ' pr}/jLOKK\r]<rovda' 

""At Yewpy a<p£vT7) fi, fjieydXo t&vojjA aov, 

Avtt) tt)v Copa Kptiyj/e fie V ra Totf/)/a/ea rd x^P ta " 

Td fxdp/xapa patdTt\Kav k rj Kbpyj fjLiralvei. /JLfoa. 

Na K7j b TovpKos irpb<pTa<re ixirpoffrd 's rbv "At Teiopyrj' 

""At Te&py d<j>4vrr} pH, fieydXo rdovofxd gov, 

Avttj ttj KOpr) Vwxets 5w, 6£\(o vd yM rt) bwo-qs. 

0a <$>£p d/*d£t rb Kepi, dynast rb dvfxtdfia 

Kat 's rd (SovpaXorbfAdpa da KovpdKco rb Xa'St, 

'2 rrj irlcrTL (tov 0d j8a0rtfrra) /cat Tewpyr) rtovojm /tou." 

Td fidp/aapa patcrrrjKav k t) Kbprj pyrjice o£w. 

T-fy 'ir?ip' b TovpKOS k tyvye. 

46 Macedonian Folklore 

and oil will I bring thee in big buffalo-skins. I will also be 
christened into thy faith, and my name shall be George/ 

The marble walls were rent asunder, and the maid came 
forth. The Turk seized her and sped away." 

The poet does not say whether the young Turk fulfilled his 
vow ; but one would not be sorry to hear that he did not. 


Sicker this morrow, no longer ago, 
I saw a shoal of shepheards outgo 
With singing, and shouting, and jolly cheer. 

Shepheard's Calender. 

The First of May (Upcorofiaid) is spent " in dance and song 
and game and jest." Parties are formed " to fetchen home 
May" (yd iridaovv rbv Mdrj) and go to picnic in the plains 
and meadows. The youths weave wreaths of wild flowers and 
of sprays of the fragrant tree called after the day Protomam, 
and hang them outside the doors of their sweethearts, accord- 
ing to the common European custom which is explained by 
folklorists as due to the belief in the fertilising power of the 
tree-spirit. 1 Similar garlands adorn the lintels, beams, and 
windows of each cottage and are allowed to remain there until 
they are quite dry, when they are burnt. 2 

One of the flowers gathered on this day is picked out by 
the girls for purposes of divination on the subject which is 
uppermost in maids' minds the world over. This privileged 
blossom is the humble daisy, in Macedonia called pappas. 
They pluck its white petals one by one, repeating the familiar 
" He loves me ; he loves me not " (M' dyaira, Se' /ju dyaira). 3 
Some of these blossoms are dried, to be used in winter as 
medicine against coughs. 

1 J. G» Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. i. p. 195. 

2 Cp. G. Georgeakis et L£on Pineau, Le Folk-Lore de Lesbos, p. 301. 

3 A. A. Yovtriov, 'H Kara rb Uayycuov Xw/ra,' p. 46. Cp. Memoirs of the 
American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. pp. 44, 45. 

April, May, and June 47 

Among the many songs sung on this occasion the following 
is a great favourite: 

Toopa V o Ma?7<? tc rj "Az/otft, 
Tcopa to tcaXo/calpi, 
Tcopa Krj 6 %€vo<; /SovXerat 
'2 top roiro rov va irdrj. 

"Now is May and Spring, 
Now is the fine weather, 
Now the stranger bethinks himself 
To return to his native land." 

To these simple verses the country girls will dance for 
hours, repeating them again and again. 

Another song, which I heard at Melenik, impressed me with 
its simple sentimentality. An enthusiast might even venture 
to claim for it a place beside Anacreon's sweet ode, beginning 
with the words %i> fiev <j)iXr) ^eXtSoop. 

XeXiSopd/ct fiov yXvteo, 
Qaaapio p,epo$ irovpuat *«yco, 
*£t yXvtco fiov xeXiSovi, 
T?)? yXvtceias avyfjs drjhopi, 
TlepifcaXco ere 7r€ra!j€, 
Hype tcrj aXXov teal l~eTal~€ % 
"12% OapOf) real to 7tovXl /ulov, 
Na p aicovarj tjj (fxopij fjbov ; 

" Hovaap, 7rovXl fi, roaop fcaip6 y 
2e tcaprepova aav top TpeXXo;" 
" "Hfiap '<? Ta oprj, \ tcl fiovpd, 
MeVa '? to, /cpovaTaXXa vepd. 
"H/jLap pecra \ Trjq SpoadS^, 
'2 tov yialov tjj<; irpaaipdhrj?" 

"My sweet little swallow, 
See how wretched I am, 

my dear swallow, 
Sweet Morn's nightingale, 

1 pray thee fly, 

Go abroad and ask : 

Oh will my own bird ever come, 

Will she ever listen to my voice ? 

48 Macedonian Folklore 

* Where wert thou, my own bird, this long while, 

And I waiting for thee like one demented?' 
1 1 dwelt in the mountains and in the hills, 

Amidst the crystal springs. 

I dwelt amidst the cooling dews, 

In May's green plantations. 5 " 

A third ballad, dealing with the balmy beauties of May, 
was dictated to me by a native of the isle of Thasos: 

r Qva ttov\1 OaXacrcrcvb k eva irovXl ^ovvrjato* 

<$>(M)va%€b to daXaaaivb /cal Xeei to fiowrjcno' 

"Tt, fxe cjxovdfeis, yS/s' dhepfye, /cat ri fie Trapayyikveis ;" 

" Xvp€, TTOvXl fl, *9 TOV TOTTO flOU, GVp6 \ TTJ ywalicd p,OV." 

" Too tcaprepa) rrjv *Avoi£i, rov Mdi? f to /caXo/ealpi, 

No. pnrovyuTTovicidcrovv to, (Bowd, vd otkiooctovv xa Xay/edBia, 

Na ftyovv 01 BXa^ot x '9 Ta ftovvd, k y BXa^s '9 Ta \ayKahta y 

Na irdpoo to Tovcf>€f€i fjiov vd /3ya> vd fcvvrjyrjaco, 

Kal vavpco ttjv dydirri p,ov vd ti) y\vico<f>Ckria'(o. i ' 

" There was a bird of the sea and a bird of the hills. 

The bird of the sea calls, and the bird of the hills replies : 

* Wherefore dost thou call me, brother, what is thy command ? ' 

'Go, my dear bird, to my native land, go to my wife.' 

' I am waiting for Spring, for May, for the fine weather, 

For the mountains to burst into bud, for the forests to grow shady, 

For the shepherds to come forth on the hills, and the shepherdesses 

into the woods, 
That I may take my musket and go forth a-hunting, 
That I may find my beloved and give her a sweet kiss/" 

It will be noticed that the conventional metaphor of the 
birds is dropped towards the end of the song, and the speaker 
resumes his human character and tastes. 2 

As an instance of the perfect abandon, which characterizes 
the May Day festivities of the modern Greeks, may be mentioned 
a custom which until quite recently prevailed in the island of 

1 BX&xoi and BAdxT?*> ' shepherds ' and * shepherdesses.' The name Wallach 
is commonly applied to all people leading a pastoral life, whether of Wallachian 
nationality or not, and points to the nomadic character of this mysterious 

2 For English May-Songs ancient and modern, see The Book of Days, 
vol. 1. p. 546. 

April, May, and June 49 

Syra in the Aegean. In the evening of that day the women 
used to go down to the shore en masse and wash their feet 
in the sea. Crowds of admiring males witnessed the per- 
formance, which was accompanied by much laughter and 
good-humoured horse-play. The custom may have originated 
in some solemn ceremony of propitiation of the sea-nymphs, if 
not of Aphrodite herself. The May festivities all over Europe 
are permeated with symbolical allusions to fertility, and such 
an appeal to the spirits of the water would harmonize well 
with the analogous appeals to the tree-spirits, exemplified by 
the wreaths already mentioned. The divinings by the flower 
petals are also obviously connected with a similar idea. 

There are several saws expressing popular opinion on the 
character of this month : f O Mar)? e'x^ t' ovo\ia tcrj 'AirpiXr)^ 
rd XovXovSia, "May enjoys the fame, but April brings forth 
the flowers." Weather-lore pronounces : Ma^ a/3pe%o?, %povid 
evrvxHTfievr), " A rainless May portends a prosperous year." 1 The 
serenity of May is, however, occasionally disturbed by hail- 
storms. The folk muse turns this untoward circumstance to 
account : 

*Avrd Vp€7re Sev e/3/oe%e, rov Ma?7 ^aXa^covei. 

" When it should it did not even rain ; in May it hails," 

a proverb applied to those who display inopportune energy or 

An equivalent to our saying : 

Change not a clout 
Till May be out, 2 

is offered by the Macedonian commandment : Mrjv gaXacfrpcovys 
t6 KOpfjii a ocrov 6 "JLXvixiros elvat d<nrpi(Tp,evo<;, "Do not 
lighten your body so long as Mount Olympus is clad in white/' 
an advice the prosaic import of which is redeemed by the poetic 
form of the expression. 

1 This especially applies to the vines, v. infra September. 

2 For a variety of saws concerning May see K. Inwards, Weather Lore, 
pp. 31 foil. 

A. F. 4 

50 Macedonian Folklore 


This month is known as the 'Harvester' (©e/Hcm;?), 
because harvest begins during it. In fact, it is the beginning 
of the busiest time in the peasants year, and the folk poet 
may well complain : 

Kir to Oepo Co? 7-779 ikrjals 
Aev d7ro\€i7rovp y hovXeials. 

"From harvest till the olive's press'd 
In life there is but little rest." 

Nevertheless, this month enjoys the distinction of including 
the very crown of Midsummer festivals. On the 24th of June 
is celebrated the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist 
or, as he is termed in the Calendar of the Greek Church, the 
Precursor ( f O ITpoS/jo/xo?), and popularly known as St John of 
the Divination ( r/ A£ Tidvvr)<$ tov KXrfSova), a name derived from 
one of the many methods of fortune-telling which constitutes 
the principal feature of the festival. 

On the eve (dvrjfiepa) of the feast parties of village maidens 
are in the habit of gathering together in a purposely darkened 
room, with a mirror. Having thus "taken darkness for an 
ally/' they all look into the magic mirror by turns. Those 
who are to marry within the year see, or fancy that they see, 
the future husbands face in the glass — peeping over their 
shoulders, as it were. The less fortunate, or less imaginative, 
ones are compelled to possess their souls in patience till 
next year. 

Another form of the same practice is the following: each 
maid separately takes a looking-glass into her bedroom and 
after having undressed stands in front of it, uttering this 
formula : 

Uaipvco top Ka6pe(j)T7) real tov 6eo TrepiKaXw 
"Ottolos elvai t*}? Ti'^779 jjlov diro^re vd tov 8l(o. 

"I take up this mirror and God I beseech, 
Whosoever is to be my fate, may I see him this night." 

She then puts the glass under her pillow and tries hard to 
dream. This ceremony closely corresponds with the Hallowe'en 

April, May, and June 51 

practice of the North, mentioned in Burns's poem of that name 
(xm). The custom for the Scotch maiden was to go alone 
to a looking-glass, holding a candle. According to some 
authorities she should eat an apple, 1 according to others she 
should comb her hair before the glass. Then the face of her 
predestined partner would appear in the depths of the mirror. 

This superstition is related to another, not unknown to 
English school-girls of the present day. The first new moon 
in the year is made to declare to them the husband that is 
to be, and she is invoked in the following words, pronounced 
by the girl standing against a tree, with her foot on a 

stone : 

New Moon, New Moon, I hail thee 
By all the virtue in thy body, 
Grant this night that I may see 
Him who my true love is to be. 2 

It is curious that the English girl's invocation should be 
more pagan in tone than the Macedonian maiden's prayer. 

The looking-glass form of divination is akin to the familiar, 
and now fashionable, crystal-gazing. It is only one of a number 
of superstitions belonging to an ancient and numerous family. 
Visions are seen on walls or in water, in mirror or the moon ; 
but the object is ever the same. "Ancient and modern 
superstition... attributes the phantasms to spiritual agency," 
says Mr Andrew Lang. 3 

A third attempt at peering into futurity is made by means 
of water and molten lead — old spoons and forks often going 
to the pot for this purpose. A basin is filled with water and, 
while an incantation is being muttered, the molten lead is 
dropped into the vessel. The forms which the metal assumes 
in congealing are interpreted symbolically. If, for example, the 
lead spreads into an even surface, that is a sign that his or 
her wishes will be fulfilled without difficulty ; should, on the 
contrary, the metal shape itself into a lump or 'mountain/ 

1 Cp. Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. rv. p. 38 ; pp. 55 foil. 

2 School Superstitions, by T. Parker Wilson, in the ' Boyal Magazine ' of 
Sept., 1901. For other versions of this appeal to the Moon see Memoirs of 
\he American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. pp. 117 foil. 

3 Cock-Lane and Common- Sense, pp. 69 foil. 


52 Macedonian Folklore 

it signifies that great obstacles lie in the way of his or her 
happiness, and so forth. 

An allusion to this form of divination is to be found in 
a popular love-couplet which I heard at Salonica : 

f/ Fjva /cofifidrc /xaXafia da pi^co ? to TrrjydSi, 

Na tcadapetyrj to vepo, vd Bcoo ttolo? 8 a fie irdprj. 

"A lump of gold shall I drop into the well, 
That the water may grow clear, and I may see who my husband is to be." 

On the same evening takes place another ceremony with a 
similar end in view. Water is drawn from a well into a jug, in 
perfect silence (fiov/36 or dfiiXrjTo vepo). 1 Into it is thrown the 
white of an egg, and then it is left out in the open air through 
the night. The shapes which the egg assumes are examined 
on the following morning and interpreted in the same way as 
those of the lead. In Russia a parallel custom prevails on 
Christmas Eve ; but, instead of lead or egg, the material used 
is molten wax. The sinful professions of the 'wax-melter' 
(fcrjpoxvTT)?) and the ' lead-melter 5 (/jloXv^Bo^vtt]^) are not 
unknown to the islanders of the Aegean. 2 

Of like spells we find many traces both in England and in 
Scotland. The * Wake of Freya ' still survives as a memory, 
if not as an actual practice. 3 Burns in a note to Halloween 
gives an interesting description of the custom as it prevailed 
in Scotland in his day, 4 while Keats has immortalized a kindred 
superstition in his beautiful poem, The Eve of St Agnes : 
They told her how, upon St Agnes's Eve 
Young virgins might have visions of delight, 
And soft adorings from their loves receive 
Upon the honey'd middle of the night, 
If ceremonies due they did aright. 5 

1 This water is also called aXaXov, see Ducange, Glossarium ad scriptorei 
mediae et infimae Graecitatis, s. v. iiavrpaira. 

2 W. H. D. Bouse, 'Folklore from the Southern Sporades' in Folk-Lore. 
June, 1899, p. 152. Most of these methods of divination are common to manj 
parts of the Greek East ; see a few notes on AeLcridai/jLovlai Kal "Op/cot in th< 
l 'mviKbv 'RfiepoMyiov' Maplvov II. Bperov, Paris, 1866, pp. 219—220; G 
Georgeakis et Leon Pineau, Le Folk-Lore de Lesbos, pp. 307 — 308. 

3 G. Borrow, Lavengro, ch. xx. 4 N. 10. 

5 VI. For a full description of this superstition see The Book of Days, vol. i 
p. 140. 

April, May, and June 53 

Likewise Poor Robins Almanack for 1770 tells us how 

On St Mark's Eve, at twelve o'clock, 
The fair maid will watch her smock, 
To find her husband in the dark, 
By praying unto Good St Mark. 1 

But all the above modes of divination are in Macedonia 
eclipsed by the picturesque rite which lends to the feast of the 
Baptist its popular designation. This is the rite known 
throughout the Greek world as 6 fc\r/Sova<;, and it well deserves 
a chapter to itself. It is perhaps the most interesting form of 
hydromancy which can be directly associated with the Mid- 
summer ceremonies prevalent all over Europe and regarded 
by folklorists as having for their object the promotion of 
fertility. The step from a rite of propitiation to one of divina- 
tion is but a short one. Even after the idea had been abandoned 
that the ceremonies in question operated to bring about the 
desired effect, the wish to obtain an omen as to the future of 
individuals, especially on matters matrimonial, might well have 
continued to be cherished. "It is thus that magic dwindles 
into divination." 2 

c O KXrjBovas? 

In Macedonia the ceremony, or pastime — for, like most of 
these rites, it has long been shorn of its serious character 4 — 
is performed as follows. 

On the eve of the day young people of both sexes, — for 
this is a social spell, — and not unfrequently married men and 
women also, fix upon a certain spot where the performance is 
to be held. Then a child is sent round to collect from the 
members of the party different ' tokens ' {o-Tj/jbaSta), consisting 

1 Quoted in The Book of Days, vol. i. p. 550. 

2 J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. n. p. 129. 

3 The name is a modernized form of the ancient KXydibv, an omen contained 
in a word, whence KXydovlfa, to give an omen, etc. The peasants, however, 
regard it as connected with the verb KXeidu>vu>, to lock, and this opinion has 
given rise to some of the terms employed above. 

4 Indeed Kk-qdovas sometimes is used as a synonym for a frivolous sport, in 
which any nonsense is permissible. Hence the popular saying, "aura 's rbv 
KXrjdova p& ra irrjs (or pa ra irovXriaris) " conveying pretty nearly the same 
meaning as our " tell that to the marines." 

54 Macedonian Folklore 

of rings, beads, buttons, or anything that the participators in 
the ceremony are in the habit of wearing about their persons. 
To each of these tokens is attached a flower, or a sprig of 
basil, and then they are all cast into a jug or pitcher, which 
is also crowned with flowers, especially with basil and the 
blossom of a creeping plant, resembling the honeysuckle and 
from its association with the rite called K\r/&ova$ or St John's 
Flower (ToO "At YidvvY) to XovXovSt). 1 In some districts a gigantic 
cucumber, or an onion, is cast in along with the tokens. The 
vessel is then carried to the fountain, the spout (<rov\7]vdpL) of 
which is likewise decorated in a manner recalling the well- 
flowering and tap-dressing customs once popular in England. 2 
The maid who bears the vessel must not utter a single word, 
and if spoken to she must not answer. Having filled the pitcher, 
she carries it back in silence. A red kerchief is spread over 
its mouth and fastened round the edges with a ribbon, or a 
string, and a padlock (/cXeiBcovcd). The last mentioned article 
seems to be due partly to the mistaken etymology of the name 
teXrjSova? (unless, indeed, the etymology has been suggested by 
the article), and partly no doubt to the mystic significance 
attributed by popular superstition to a lock. 3 This part of 
the ceremony is known as the ' locking ' (to KXeiScofia) and 
in some places, as Nigrita, for example, where the silence rule 
is not observed, the action is accompanied by the following 
song, sung by a chorus of maidens both on the way to the 
fountain and round it, while the pitcher is filling: 

To KXelBcofia. 4 

M.a£G>vr}o~0y, crvvtdtyadr), 

Via vd fcXeiSobcrov/JLT] tovv fckeuBovva 

1 Cp. the plants used for purposes of divination on St John's Day in other 
countries, such as the Ciuri di S. Giuvanni in Sicily and St John's wort 
in Prussia. J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. n. p. 129. 

2 The Book of Days, vol. i. p. 819. 

3 On the use of locks and knots as impediments to sorcery, see J. G. Frazer, 
The Golden Bough, vol. i. pp. 400 foil. 

4 This song was taken down by a maid of Nigrita at my request. She could 
only just write and so she unconsciously reproduced in her spelling the local 
pronunciation, which I have endeavoured to retain in the above copy. 

April, May, and June 55 

Me r ' A'Lytavviov rovv KXelSovva. 

TIolo? arj (frvrrfyfrT}, 7roto9 crrj 7t6tkt7j (bis) jjiapddicav ra \ov\ovBia & ; 

Ypa firj ^vTTjyfrr], yp d fxi) iroTicrt) 

K$ fxapdOicav ra XovXovBca jjl . 

©ovfiaij fju, tt) dv — , tt) dvyarepa a 

"AWovv veto va /htjv ttj Scocrrjs. (bis) 

Aov/crjvd jjl, r/yoo rrjv appaftcoviacf (bis) 

M' evav llovpyapov r^iXewT] (bis) 

Me evav ir^X T ^ X^ ia ^"po^ara, 

Ta ipatcoaia Ba/jbaXcSca. 

The locking of the vessel. 

Come together, oh be ye gathered together, 

That we may lock the pitcher 

With St John's flower. 
"Who planted thee? Who watered thee, 

And thy blossoms are faded ? " 
"An old woman planted me, an old woman watered me, 

Therefore my blossoms are faded." 
"O Thomae, dear Thomae, thy daughter 

Give her not to another youth." 
"O Doukena, dear Doukena, I have betrothed her 

To a Bulgarian gentleman, 

To the one who owns a thousand sheep, 

And three hundred heifers ! " 

The pitcher, thus prepared, is exposed " to the light of 
the stars " ('9 rrjv darpocfreyyid, or '9 to ^dcrrepo), or is placed 
under a rose-tree, where it remains during the night. Early 
next morning it is taken indoors and set in the corner of a 
room. In the afternoon of the festal day the young people 
assemble once more round the pitcher and proceed to ' unlock ' 
it, accompanying the action with a variation of the same song : 

To %€fc\€i8cofia. 

M.a%a)Vi)ar6r), avvcd^rja07} f 

Ttd vd i*7]K\€i$dxrovfJLr) tovv /cXetBovva, etc. 

56 Macedonian Folklore 

The unlocking of the vessel. 

Come together, oh be ye gathered together, 
That we may unlock the pitcher, etc. 

A little boy, the most guileless-looking that can be found, 
is appointed to lift off the kerchief, which is then thrown over 
his face, and thus blindfolded ('9 ra Tv<j)kd) he dips his right 
hand into the pitcher. While the boy is doing this, one of the 
bystanders cries out : " We open the vessel. May good luck 
issue forth!" ('Avoiyovfie rov Kkrjhova, va /3yfj to /caXopplfy/co!). 1 
Then the boy draws out the first token, singing 

Twovs cnjfidSc KTj av i@yr), 

Na iray \ rd Xeppa? fju okav rd KaXd. 

"Whose token comes forth, 
May they go to Serres and enjoy all manner of happiness." 

The owner of this first token is cheered by the others and 
congratulated on his or her good luck. Then each of the 
company by turns or some one, generally an old woman well 
versed in Luck-lore, recites or improvises a couplet as each 
token is being drawn. In some districts, in lieu of couplets, 
they propound riddles. 2 In either case the saying is considered 
as foreshadowing the future of the person to whom the token 
belongs. As may be imagined, all the predictions are not 
equally pleasing. Some of them are grotesque and sometimes 
even such as a more cultured audience would pronounce coarse. 
These give rise to many sallies of rustic wit at one another's 

The cucumber is drawn out last and eaten. Then the real 
broad farce begins. The tokens are flung back into the pitcher, 
and the company give free play to their sense of fun in the way 
of sayings which, when the circle is exclusively confined to 
married women, are neither meant nor meet for male ears. 
The festival generally ends with dancing and singing. 

1 For other formulae customary at the opening of the jug elsewhere, see 
Bernhard Schmidt, Lieder verschiedenen Inhalts, No. 63 ; Passow, Disticha, 
No. 85. 

2 A collection of both these kinds of folk literature will be found at the end 
of the volume. 

April, May ', and June 57 

A performance essentially similar to the Greek feXrjSovas, 
though wanting in many of its picturesque details, is popular 
amoDg the Russians. "At the Christmas festival a table is 
covered with a cloth, and on it is set a dish or bowl containing 
water. The young people drop rings or other trinkets into the 
dish, which is afterwards covered with a cloth, and then the 
Podblyudnuiya Songs commence. At the end of each song one 
of the trinkets is drawn at random, and its owner deduces an 
omen from the nature of the words which have just been sung." 1 


Another important feature of the feast are the bonfires 
((JxdtlclIs;) 2 kindled on the eve. It is the custom for boys to leap 
through the flames. This is called ' leaping the fleas ' {tttj^ovv 
rot»9 *tyvWov<;), that is leaping over the fire which is supposed to 
burn and exterminate these enemies to the peace of southerners. 
The same custom exists in some parts of Russia where " fires 
are lighted on St John's night and people jump through them 
themselves, and drive their cattle through them." 3 St John's 
fires are also common throughout the Roman Catholic world 
both in Europe and in South America, and the belief prevails 
that the flames cannot hurt those who jump through them. 
They survived until very late days in Ireland. Ralston remarks 
that these festivals, bonfires, etc. connected with St John are 
" of thoroughly heathenish origin." 4 The justice of this remark 
is proved by the antiquity of the custom, which certainly dates 
from pre-Christian times. We read in the Old Testament 5 that 
King Manasseh "caused his children to pass through the fire 
in the valley of the son of Hinnom." We also possess Ovid's 
testimony that the practice was popular among the ancient 
Romans : 

Certe ego transilui positas ter in ordine flammas. 6 

1 Ealston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 197. 

2 At Polygyros, in the Chalcidic Peninsula, these bonfires are known as 

3 lb. p. 240. 4 16. p. 241. 

5 2 Chron. xxxiii. 6. 6 Ovid. Fast. iv. 655. 

58 Macedonian Folklore 

In fact leaping through the flames played a prominent part in the 
festival of Pales (Palilia), held on April 21st. " Similarly at the 
time of our Christmas, bonfires were kindled by the Norsemen in 
honour of Thor and Odin, and it was an old Scotch custom to 
light ' a Candlemas Bleeze ' on February 2, possibly connected 
with the old Italian rites of Februatio." 1 Thus far the Eve. 2 

On the day itself in some parts of Macedonia the peasants 
are in the habit of festooning their cottages and girding their 
own waists with wreaths of the " St John s Flower " as a charm 
against various diseases. The village maidens boil the blossoms 
and wash their hair with the elixir extracted therefrom, in the 
same hope which prompts the use of eaux toniques to their 
sisters of the West. 3 

1 G. H. Hallam's edition of The Fasti of Ovid, note on iv. 655. 

2 For descriptions of the St John's festivities in certain islands of the Aegean, 
see W. H. D. Kouse, * Folklore from the Southern Sporades ' in Folk-Lore, June 
1899, pp. 178-9; G. Georgeakis et Leon Pineau, Le Folk-Lore de Lesbos, pp. 
304 foil., and references to authorities for the custom in other parts of Greece. 

In England also the St John's celebrations were very popular in olden 
times, the bonfire being made out of contributions collected for the purpose. 
On the superstitious notions about St John's Eve, prevalent in England 
and Ireland, and other interesting particulars, see The Boole of Days, vol. i, 
pp. 814 foil. Frazer associates these midsummer rites with the ancient 
ceremonies the object of which was to foster the growth of vegetation, one of 
them being the Feast of Adonis, familiar to classical scholars through the 
Fifteenth Idyll of Theocritus: see The Golden Bough, vol. n. pp. 115 foil. 

3 On * magic plants,' and more especially St John's wort, culled on this day, 
see J. G. Frazer, ib. vol. in. pp. 328 foil. 




This month is known to the peasant as the 'Thresher* 
(' AXmvLcrrrjg, 'AXcovTrjs, or ' Akcovdpr]?), as the threshing of 
corn begins in it : 

' AXcovdprjs t dXo)pi^€Cy 
K?) Avyovcro? to ^e^eopi^ec, 
"July threshes it ; hut August winnows it." 

Another popular proverb declares 

"Etct£ TftS^et to \ivdpi 
N' dvOfj top *A\a)vdpr). 
" J Tis the wont of flax to blossom forth in July," 

the moral of which is that it is of no use fighting against the 
laws of Nature. 

A third saying contains an allusion to the grasshopper : 

T^LT^rjfcas i\d\r]cr€, 
IMavprj pcbya yvdXcae, 

" The grasshopper has chirped ; the black grape has begun to gleam." 

The song of the grasshopper and the joys of the juice of the 
grape are here coupled together in a manner which Anacreon 
would have appreciated keenly. The Greek's attitude towards 
this " melodious insect " has undergone less change than the 
name by which it is known. To the modern Hellene the grass- 
hopper's chirping is still a " sweet prophetic strain," and, had 

60 Macedonian Folklore 

he not ceased to believe in the Tuneful Nine and their divine 
leader, he might still exclaim with the old poet: 

"The Muses love thy shrilly tone; 
Apollo calls thee all his own." 1 

The farmers of Macedonia out of the newly ground corn 
make a large thin cake, which they take to the village fountain 
or well. They sprinkle it with water and then distribute it 
among the bystanders, who in return wish them * a happy 
year/ This cake is called ' Grasshopper-Cake ' (T&T&pofcXifco), 
and is supposed to be a kind of offering to their favourite 
insect. The following rhymes express the insect's satisfaction 
at the sacrifice: 

*Acovl%€T€, depi^ere icy pueva /cXlfct, icdv€T€, 

Kal pL%T€ TO '<? T7) fipiHTl VCi ITCLtO VOL TO TrdpCO, 

Na kcltctco vd to <j)dco fia^v /jl€ to, iraihid fiov, 
Na 7T€0"ft) va TreOdva). 2 

"Thresh and mow and make a cake for me. 
Throw it into the fount that I may go and fetch it, 
And sit and eat it with my children, 
And then lay me down and die." 


Fasting and feasting are the two scales in which the modern 
Greek's existence seems alternately to balance itself. August 
begins with the Feast of the Progress of the Precious and 
Vivifying Cross ('H irpooBos tov tl/jllov /cat tayoiroiov %Tavpov y 
popularly known as Tou %ravpov). Bonfires are the order of 
the evening. The^boys jump over them shouting in vigorous, 

1 Anacreon's ode, or rather the ode which passes under Anacreon's name, to 
the TerTi£, translated by Thomas Moore. Cp. "This noise was so pleasing to the 
ear of the Ancients, that their Poets are always using it as a simile for sweet 
sounds." Liddell and Scott s.v. and references. 

2 A. A, IWiov, ''H Kara to Ilcfy/cuo*/ Xc£pa,' p. 47. In America also, though 
in some parts the chirping of a cricket foretells sorrow, yet it is generally 
deemed unlucky to kill one. Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, 
vol. vii. p. 41. In England " when crickets chirp unusually, wet is expected." 
E. Inwards, Weather-Lore , p. 183. 

July to December 61 

but sadly unenlightening, terms : 'Ava^are! irapdj^are ! "Dig 
up ! bury ! " whom or what, they know not. 1 This exclamation 
supplies the name by which the custom is known at Melenik. 
At Shatista, in Western Macedonia, the same fires are called 
KXaBaptd or ' bush-fires/ and at Berat, in Albania, Trikka. 
The evening is a Meat-Feast (Airoicped), a preparation for, and 
a fortification against, a fortnight's fast, which again in its turn 
is a prelude to the Feast of the Repose of the Virgin ( C H KoifiTjai^ 
rr)<; ®eoTOKoVy popularly T% TLavayLas). Nor do these exhaust 
the list of August celebrations. On the 23rd is held the Feast 
of the Return of the Feast of the Virgin ('AttoSoo-l? tt}? eoprr}^ 
T179 ®€otokov) or of The Holy Merciful (T99 ^Ayia? ^JLXeovarjs). 
This day is solemnized by much dancing and singing of the 
mournful kind common in the East. The mournfulness among 
the Bulgarians of Macedonia is further deepened by the dismal 
droning of the bag-pipe — an instrument whereof the strains 
appear to delight the Bulgarian as much as the Highlander, 
in proportion as they distress all other mortals. Again, on the 
29th, the Cutting-off of the Precious head of St John the 
Forerunner ('H diroTOfxr) rrjs rifjuias /c€<f>a\r}s 'Icodvvov rov 
UpoSpofjbov) is made the occasion of more abstinence. 

It is in harmony with this religious gloom that August is 
considered as the precursor of winter : 

f O Avyouo-To? 67rdT7)cre \ rr)v a/cpa rov xeifjbwva. 

"August has set his foot on Winter's edge." 

W.avpt<r r) pcoya diro to arafyvXi ; 
^Vd^vtaa r) Kap&ta rod fcapa/3o/cvpr}. 

" Has the grape grown black in the cluster ? 
The ship-captain's heart has grown dark." 

In this symbolical style the man learned in weather-lore 
warns his audience that summer calms are behind and winter 
storms before us. 

1 May not these words contain a hint of "the death and resurrection of 
vegetation," which are said to be the ideas underlying the midsummer rites ? It 
should be noted that ircLpax&vu and dvax^vca (or Zavaxuvu) are the terms 
commonly applied by the people to the burial and exhumation of the dead. 

62 Macedonian Folklore 

These pessimistic views are, however, contradicted by other 
authorities who declare : 

*0 rfkios tov Wlalov r Avjovcttov to <f>€yy apt. 

"May's sun is August's moon." 

Some even go so far in their enthusiastic appreciation as to 
exclaim : 

Avyovcne, fcaXe /jlov firjva y vacrovv Svo <\>opal<$ tov %povo. 

" O August, my fair month, that thou wert twice a year ! " 

But this may be mere flattery. 

In any case the wise man puts his trust not in traditional 
lore but in scientific observation. A flock of wild geese flying 
inland is taken as a promise of fine weather, while rains and 
storms are prognosticated if the birds fly towards the sea. 1 The 
flight of the crane was similarly considered by the ancients a 
sign of approaching winter — ^elfiaro^ &pt)v heucvvei dfifiprfpov. 2 

The first twelve days of the month are closely watched, and 
the weather which prevails on each one of them is carefully 
committed to memory ; for unerring experience, assisted by a 
profound study of matters meteorological, has established the 
rule that the same kind of weather will also prevail during each 
of the succeeding twelve months. Hence these twelve days are 
designated ( Month-Days' (ra fiepo/jb^vca). 3 In like manner in 
England it was once a common superstition that the wind which 
blew on New Year's Eve prognosticated the character of the 
ensuing twelve months : 

If New Year's Eve night-wind blow south, 
It betokeneth warmth and growth ; 
If west, much milk, and fish in the sea ; 
If north much cold and storm there will be ; 

and so forth, in Hone's venerable verse. 

1 Cp. the English omens taken from the flight of geese. E. Inwards, 
Weather-Lore, p. 160. 

2 Hes. W. and D. 450. 

3 Or have we here a survival of the classical lepofirjifta (rd, Thuc. v. 54) ' the 
holy days of the month ' ? 

July to December 63 

The jackdaw is the typical bird of this month : 
Ka#e Trpa/JLCt, '<? rbv /catpo tov icy 6 koXolos top Avjovctto. 

" Everything in due season, and the jackdaw in August." 

The Drymiais. 

The first three days of August, like the corresponding days 
in March already noticed, are sacred to the Drymiais (Apv/Mcus). 
Who or what these beings are is a mystery as yet unfathomed 
by folklorists. The very name is a problem which still remains 
to be solved. 1 The Drymiais appear to be of two kinds : vernal 
and autumnal. During the periods of March and August, 
referred to above, no tree or vine is cut, for fear lest it should 
wither ; no one bathes in the sea, for fear that their bodies will 
swell; and no clothes are washed, lest they should decay. To 
these days, which are observed everywhere along the coast and 
in the islands of the Aegean, the Macedonians add the last 
three days of either month as well as all the Wednesdays 
and Fridays of each. 2 

According to one hypothesis the Drymiais are a species of 
nymphs, joining under one name the attributes both of the 
Hamadryads and of the Naiads of old. In Spring they are 
worshipped, or rather dreaded, as wood-nymphs ; in Autumn as 
water-nymphs. This view is strengthened to some extent by 
the following popular saying : 

f O Avyovo-To? yea ra iravia, 
Krj 6 M.dpTrj<; yia ra £v\a. 

"August is bad for linen, 
And March for trees." 

1 Coray gives the name as Apijjmfiara and derives it from dp^rria i to tear/ 
while others spell it Aptf/xcus and would have it from 8pvjm6s 'a wood.' The 
spelling countenanced by Scarlatos the lexicographer is Api/xcus, but Ap6/jLfj.ara 
also is known : see G. Georgeakis et Leon Pineau Le Folk-Lore de Lesbos, p. 309. 
In my spelling of the name I have endeavoured to conform as nearly as possible 
to the pronunciation current at Nigrita and other parts of Macedonia. On the 
superstition cp. W. H. D. Rouse, 'Folklore from the Southern Sporades,' in 
Folk-Lore, June 1899, p. 179. 

64 Macedonian Folklore 

Another version of the same proverb, said to be current in 
the peninsula of Cassandra (ancient Pallene), is still more 
explicit : 

T* Avyov<TT rj Apvfiat<; '9 ra 7ravtd y 

K?) rod M.apriov \ ra gvXa. 1 

" The Drymiais of August affect the linen, 
And those of March affect the woods." 

Some additional support for this theory may be derived 
from the custom of bathers in August to arm themselves with 
a rusty nail which, they believe, is efficacious in preventing the 
Drymiais from coming near them. This seems to me to be a 
fair proof that the Drymiais are, at any rate, regarded by the 
popular consciousness in the light of personal beings, though the 
personification is somewhat vague. For we know from other 
sources that iron in any shape or form — nail, ring, etc. — is a 
good defence against fairies, 2 an idea as widely diffused as any 
in folklore : " The Oriental jinn are in such deadly terror of 
iron, that its very name is a charm against them ; and so in 
European folklore iron drives away fairies and elves, and 
destroys their power." 3 The old Scholiast on the Xlth book 
of the Odyssey, quoted by Mr Andrew Lang, 4 also informs us 
that iron " drives away devils and ghosts." Mr Tylor's explana- 
tion is that fairies, elves, and jinn "are essentially, it seems, 
creatures belonging to the ancient Stone Age, and the new 
metal is hateful and hurtful to them." If that be the case, the 
Drymiais (provided their title to personal existence is first 
established) must have a pretty long pedigree, and should be 
added to the number of shadowy survivals from a long-dead 


This is the ' Month of the Vintage ' (Tpvyrjrrfs), also called 
XravpicoTrj?, or 'Month of the Cross/ from the Feast of the 

1 See * Qepfiats,' by M. X. 'Ico&wov, Athens, 1879, p. 58. This author holds 
the above theory. 

2 J. G. Campbell, Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, p. 46. 

3 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. 1. p. 140. 

4 Custom and Myth, p. 82. 

July to December 65 

Exaltation of the Precious Cross ( e H vyfroxTL^ rod Tl/jliov 
Xravpov), held on the 14th. These events and the following 
two prognostications — one prospective and the other retro- 
spective — are September's chief claims to the folklorist's 

*Av c<tg)$ /3/oe£' 6 TpvyTjTrjs, X a P^ ' ? r ° v TVpofcofio. 
" If September brings rain, joy to the cheese-maker ! " 

Mdrj<; a/3pe^o<?, TpvyrjTrjs ^apovfjbevo^. 

"A rainless May means a mirthful September," 

that is, the vintage is particularly rich if the preceding May has 
been dry. 

On September 2nd is observed the Day of St John the 
Faster ('Icoavvov rod NTjarevrov), so called not because he fasts 
himself — though he probably did in his time — but because he 
is the cause of fasting to others. Not only meat but also 
grapes are forbidden on this day. In return, the pious peasant 
expects the saint to protect him against fevers. 1 


October is known as the 'Month of St Demetrius' (Ayio- 
SrjfjbrjrpLdrrj 1 ; or simply Arj/jLTfTpcdrr]^), from the feast of the 
saint celebrated on the 26th, a feast famous for the number 
of weddings which enliven it, as will be noticed in our chapter 

1 The following is the form of the same superstition which prevails in 
Southern Greece : — " St John was a physician, and especially skilled in the 
cure of fevers.... When he was aware that his death was approaching, he set up 
a column, and bound to its foundations all manner of diseases with silken 
threads of various colours : fevers with a yellow thread, measles with a red one, 
and other diseases with other colours... and said, 'When I die, let whosoever is 
sick come and tie to this column a silken thread with three knots of the colour 
that his sickness takes, and say, ' Dear St John, I bind my sickness to the 
column, and do by thy favour loose it from me,' and then he will be healed.' " 
Kamporoglou, Hist. Ath. in Kennell Kodd, The Customs and Lore of Modern 
Greece, p. 167. 

A. F. 5 

66 Macedonian Folklore 

on Marriage. It is also the commencement of seed-time, 
according to the adage : 

'O^TCO^plO Sep €(T7r€Lp€<;, 

'O^Tft) crcopovs 1 8ev e /caves, 
which may be paraphrased thus : 

" If in October you forget to sow, 
Expect a passing scanty crop to mow." 

A spell of fine weather is recognized in the saw : 

( Ay coSrjfMrjT pear 7] 
Mifcpo Kako/catpd/CL. 
"St Demetrius' month is a second little summer." 


This month is known as the ' Sower ' (Jiiropias:) par excel- 
lence. Sowing is so essentially a characteristic of the season, 
and it concerns the peasant so nearly, that even religion is 
forced to enlist the prevailing spirit in its service. The Virgin, 
whose feast occurs on the 21st (Ta Wio-ohta tt}? ®€otokov) 
generally goes by the name of ' Patroness of the Seed-time ' 
(EHeairopiTLcrcra). Nevertheless the secular appellation of the 
month is in some parts supplanted by the religious name 
' Month of St Andrew ' ('Avrpeas), due to the feast of the 
Apostle on the last day of the month ( r 'AZ "Avrpea). The saint 
is pictured as a hoary old man with a long snowy beard, and a 
gentle, though grave, countenance. His is a typical wintry 
figure: frosty but kindly. The first snowfall is attributed to his 
influence. T' acnTpicre ra yiveia r 6 "Ai ^Avrpeas, "St Andrew has 
washed his beard white," is the poetical form in which the event 
is described by the country-folk. They also perpetrate a profane 
pun in saying, " After the feast of St Andrew everything grows 
strong" (vo-rep* air top" Al 'Avrpea o\a avrpeievovv ['A^S/oea? — 
avSpetos]), that is, the cold grows severer, and the storms more 
frequent and fierce. 

1 The word crwpbs is still used in the sense of 'a heap of corn,' as it was in 
the days of Hesiod (ore tdpis awpbv ct/uarat, W. and D. 778). 

July to December 67 

On the 18th is held the Feast of St Plato the Martyr 
(TlXdrcovos), whose name ingenious ignorance has transformed 
into St Plane-tree ( f/ A£ UXdravcx;). This is a very important 
date in the weather-lore of the coast especially. It is said 
that this holy day witnesses all known kinds of meteorological 
vicissitude. But the weather which finally prevails at sundown 
is the one which will last through the Advent or 'the Forty 
Days ' (EapavrarjfjLepo). So deeply-rooted is this belief that a 
learned farmer tried very earnestly to persuade me that the 
failure of Napoleon's Moscow campaign was due to the omens 
taken by the Russian Emperor and his counsellors from a careful 
observation of the weather on St Plane-tree's Day. " The Tsar 
on hearing of Napoleon's approach called together his Council 
of State. 

' What are we to do, gentlemen V asked His Majesty. 

' Wait for St Plane-tree, most serene master/ answered the 
President of the Council. 

The Tsar followed this sensible advice, and saved his 
empire." Not a bad paraphrase of Nicholas the First's 
dictum : " Generals January and February will fight for us," 
and a good example of the mythopceic faculty of the people. 


The last two months of the year together are designated 
' Twins ' (AtSf/tot) ; but December by itself rejoices in the 
name of N ' acdkatrr)? or ' Month of St Nicholas,' from the 
name of the saint whose feast is held on the 6th. The same 
saint wedded to St Barbara (Dec. 4th) figures in the adage : 

NiKoXirca, ISapfiapLTcra, fjuirpos real it la on 6 yeipLtova*;. 

" St Nicholas and St Barbara : before, behind winter." 
The folk punster also exercises his wit at the expense of 
the most prominent saints of the month in alliterative doggerel 
of this type : 

Dec. 4. "Ai* T$ap/3dpa fiapfiapcbveL, 
„ 5. r 'Al 2a/3/3a<? aaftavcbvei, 
„ 6. r> A'i Ni/coXa? Trapa^coveL, 
„ 12. r, Al Xirvpih^v ^ava^covei. 


68 Macedonian Folklore 

"St Barbara behaves barbarously, 
St Sabbas winds us up in a shroud (o-dpapov) (of snow), 
St Nicholas buries us in the earth, 
St Spyridion exhumes us." 

He also says that after the Feast of St Spyridion the days 
begin to grow longer by one grain (Xirvpihtov — airvpl). The 
incorrigible one further maintains that on the Feast of 
St Ignatius ( f 'Ai 'lyvdno^, Dec. 20th) the sun stands facing 
us (ayvavrevet). The English reader, who will miss the point 
of these jokes, need not bewail the loss. 

As a general epilogue to this survey of the peasant's year, 
we may quote his opinion concerning the season ablen ess and 
unseasonableness of indulging in the juice that maketh glad 
the heart of man : 

Mrjz'a? fjbe to p, 

To fcpaal St^ct)9 vepo' 

M.r)va<; oY^o)? p, 

To Kpaal /jue to vepo. 

"Month with r, 
Unmixed jar ; 
Month sans r, 
A mixed jar." 1 

It should be noted that there are only four months in 
the year "sans r," as against eight "with r," but the former 
are the hottest (from May to August). Hence the wisdom 
of the rule which at first sight looks somewhat whimsical. 
On the whole, it is a vast improvement on the Hesiodic 
principle of "three measures of water to one of wine/' 2 which 
in its severity almost verges on total abstinence. 

Popular Astronomy. 

Ere we proceed to describe the great Winter Festivities, 
it may be well to enlarge a little more on a subject closely 
connected with the weather-lore discussed in the preceding 

1 Cp. the English saying, "When there is an r in the month oysters are in 

2 Tpls vdaros irpoxteiv, rb de rtrparov ttfiw olvov. W. and D. 596. 

July to December 69 

pages. The peasant's notions on the nature and the move- 
ments of the heavenly bodies are as curious as his ideas on 
matters sublunary. The bright starry band, which stretches 
across the sky, and which has been compared by the fancy 
of so many races to a road or way, is called by the Macedonian 
country-folk 'The Heap of corn' (Seopo?), or 'The Priest's 
Straw' (To a%i//)o rod iraira). In explanation of this quaint 
appellation the following story is told : 

" There was once a village priest, who in the dead of night 
purloined some grain from a heap which lay on a farmer's 
threshing-floor, waiting to be winnowed. But as the thief 
carried his booty away, the night breeze blew the straw or 
chaff back, and thus laid a trail by means of which the unholy 
father was easily tracked and brought to book." 

It would be equally easy to track this idea to its oriental 
source. We know that the Syrians, the Persians and the 
Turks give to the Galaxy the name of ' Straw Road,' likening 
it to a lane littered with bits of straw that fall from the nets 
in which they are in the habit of carrying it. 1 

The Man in the Moon of English folklore is a conception 
akin to that of the hero of the Milky Way adventure. Like 
his Eastern cousin, he also is a person detected in the act 
of gathering illicit goods, though in his case these are but 
sticks, the notion being derived from the story of the Sabbath- 
breaker in the Bible (Numb. xv. 32 foil.). Chaucer goes 
farther, and accuses him of actual theft, and by so doing 
he brings him a step nearer to the Macedonian papas, or village 
priest : 

On her brest a chorle painted ful even 
Bearing a bush of thorns on his backe, 
Which for his theft might clime so ne'r the heaven. 2 

The Greeks of the south call the Milky Way 'River 

The tendency to compare the heavenly bodies to objects 
familiar to a husbandman's mind is also displayed in the 
Macedonian names for various constellations. Thus the Great 

1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 360. 

2 See The Book of Days, vol. i. p. 52. 

70 Macedonian Folklore 

Bear, just as among our own peasants, is called the ' Plough y 
('AXerpi), and the different parts of that implement furnish 
names for other groups of stars, such as the ' Yoke ' (Zvyos), 
the ' Plough-feet ' (ra "AXerpoTroSta), 1 three stars in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Pleiades. 2 

The constellation of the Pleiades too, known in Greece 
Proper as the ' Poulia' (r/ UovXca), is called by the Macedonians 
the * Clucking or Brooding Hen ' (fj KXcoa-o-aptd). 3 The setting 
of this group towards the end of November is regarded as 
an official announcement of the advent of winter, an idea 
embodied in the following folk-rhymes from Southern Greece : 

'2 rfjs he/ca^rd, \ 1779 be/co^ra) 
f H TlovXca ftacriXeveL 
Kat 7rlcr(o TrapayyeXvei' 

M.7JT6 TTOvXdfCl '9 TO /cXciSl, 

M.r/T€ yrjcopyos '9 rov KapbiTO, 


M^Se T<ro/jL7rdvos \ rd fiovvd, 
Mr]he yrjcopyos '9 tovs KafiTrovs. 

" On the seventeenth, on the eighteenth (o. s.) 
The Pleiades set 

And leave behind them the command : 
Let no bird rest on the bough 
Nor husbandman in the plain, 

Nor a shepherd in the mountains, 
Nor a farmer in the plains." 

1 Cp. the Homeric names ajuai-a, a ivain, * the great bear'; (3od)T7)$, a 
ploughman, 'the constellation of Arcturus.' 

2 The author's primitive acquaintance with Astronomy forbids any attempt 
at more accurate identification, but he will hazard the suggestion that by the 
* three stars' is probably meant the belt of Orion. 

3 This modern conception of the constellation as a bird supports to a certain 
extent the suggestion that the ancient name, irXei&des, is not derived from irX^to, 
'to sail,' but stands for 7reA«d5es, 'a flock of doves.' Mr Walter Leaf, in his 
edition of Homer's Iliad (xviii. 486), argues with much force in favour of this 
view, pointing out that the other names of stars mentioned by the poet are all 
derived from a pastoral or agricultural and not from a seafaring life. 

July to December 71 

This advice tallies exactly with old Hesiod's warning: 
"When the Pleiades, flying from Orion's mighty strength, 
sink into the shadow-streaked sea, it is then that gales from 
all points of the sky are wont to rage : beware of having 
a boat upon the murky billows at that time of the year/' 1 

Consequently, great attention is paid by the peasants to 
the conditions attending the setting of this constellation, and 
from those conditions are drawn omens as to the quantity 
of the forthcoming crop and the fertility of cattle. If it sets 
in a cloudy sky, it is said to portend a rich harvest. 

The rainbow, commonly called " bow " {§6%a or Sol*api, from 
to£oi/), is known at Liakkovikia as /cepaaovXivTj, and in that 
district the belief prevails that if a male child passes beneath 
it, he turns into a girl ; if a girl, she turns into a boy. 2 In other 
parts of the Greek world the rainbow is called ' Heaven's. Girdle ' 
(£(DvdpL tov ovpavov). 3 

The falling of the wind towards evening is popularly ex- 
pressed : " He is gone to supper " (Hrjye va (fray). 

The New Moon. 

The new moon is observed with a view to ascertaining the 
state of the weather for the ensuing quarter. Me ri icaipo 
TTidarrj/ce to fayydpt, ; is the common expression. On this 
notion, which the Macedonian peasants share with many people 
in England — that is, that the weather changes with the moons 
quarterings — Mr Tylor observes: u That educated people to 
whom exact weather records are accessible should still find 
satisfaction in the fanciful lunar rule, is an interesting case 
of intellectual survival." 4 According to the same author the 
idea is a counterpart of the tendency to associate the growth 
and death of plants with the moon's wax and wane, and, we 

1 W. and D. 619 foil. 

2 A. A. Tovcrlov, ''H Kara to Il&yyaiov Xtipa,' p. 77. 

3 Scarlatos, ' Ae&icbp ttjs Kad* rj/JLas 'EWtjvlktjs 5mX^/crou,' s.v. do^dpu 

4 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 130. 

72 Macedonian Folklore 

might add, it belongs to the stage of culture which prevailed 
before the line was very rigidly drawn between meteorology 
and theology — to times when sky and heaven meant one and 
the same thing;. 1 

Eclipse of the Moon. 

An eclipse of the moon is considered by the Mohammedans 
of Macedonia, as of other parts of the East, a portent of 
bloodshed. It is met with reports of fire-arms, and the Imams 
call from the minarets the faithful to public prayers in the 

This recalls in a striking manner the practices of many 
savage and barbaric nations. The Indians of America, on 
,-seeing the phenomenon, howled and bewailed and shot at the 
sky in order to drive off the monsters which, they believed, 
were trying to devour the moon. Similar ideas and similar 
methods prevail among many African tribes. The great nations 
of Asia, such as the Hindoos and the Chinese, still cling to the 
belief in the Eclipse-monster. The latter meet it with prayers, 
like the Turks. 

But even in civilized Europe, both ancient and modern, we 
find numerous proofs of this superstition. The Romans came 
to the succour of the afflicted moon by flinging firebrands into 
the air, by the blare of trumpets and the clang of brazen pots. 
The superstition survived through the Middle Ages into a 
very late period. France, Wales and Ireland offer many 
instances as late as the 17th century. 2 

1 For certain curious English superstitions regarding the moon see 
B. Inwards, Weather Lore, p. 64 ; The Book of Days, vol. n. p. 202 ; Memoirs 
of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. pp. 121, 122. On the general 
subject concerning the supposed influence of the moon on the life of plants and 
animals see J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. n. pp. 155 foil, and Note B. 
pp. 457, 458. 

2 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. pp. 328 foil. 



Of Christmas' sports, the wassail bowl, 
That's tost up after fox-i'-th'-hole ; 
Of Twelfth-tide cakes, of pease and beans, 
Wherewith ye make those merry scenes. 

Herrick, Hesperides. 

' Solemn scenes ' would have been better than f merry 
scenes' as a description of the Macedonian Yule-tide celebra- 
tions in their entirety. 

The period of Twelve Days, from the Nativity to the 
Epiphany (AcoBetcaTJjjuepo), is perhaps the most prolific in super- 
stitious lore and practice presented by the Macedonian folk- 
calendar. It is during this season that the natural horrors 
of winter are heightened by the mysterious beings known 
and dreaded under the name of Karkantzari or Skatsantzari 1 . 

1 Other forms of the name, current in various parts of Greece, are KaXrj- 
KavTcrapos, KakKdraapos, \vKOK&vT<rapo$> KoXyjK&VTcrapos etc. Some spell it with i 
instead of 77 ; but there is little choice as both vowels are pronounced alike, and 
the spelling cannot be determined until the derivation is discovered. This last 
has for many years afforded matter for speculation to the ingenious. The most 
plausible of all the etymologies suggested is Bernhard Schmidt's (Das Volksleben 
der Neugriechen, pp. 142 foil.). He derives the Greek from the Albanian 
Karkandsoli, which in its turn comes from the Turkish Kara ( == black) -kond- 
jolos ( = loup-garou). But he does not state whether the Turks actually call the 
monsters by that name, or whether they believe in them at all. For details 
concerning the nature and attributes of these singular beings, as conceived by 
the Greeks of the South, see Bennell Bodd, The Customs and Lore of Modern 
Greece, pp. 197 foil.; W. H. D. Bouse, Folklore from the Southern Sporades in 
Folk-Lore, June 1899, pp. 174 foil. ; G. Georgeakis et Le'on Pincau, Le Folk-Lore 
de Lesbos, p. 349. The Macedonian conception is substantially the same. 

74 Macedonian Folklore 

These malicious fiends are wont to haunt the peasant's home 
and make his life well-nigh unbearable. The belief prevails 
that those who have a ' light ' guardian angel (iXacfrpov d<yj€\ov) 
are from Christmas till Twelfth Day — when " the waters are 
blessed by the baptism " ((Safyrl^ovTai ra vepa) — transformed 
into monsters. Their nails suddenly grow to an abnormal 
length, they turn red in the face, their eyes become bloodshot 
and wild, their noses and mouths excrete. In this hideous 
guise they roam from house to house at night, knocking at 
the doors. Should they be refused admittance, they climb 
down through the chimney and terrify the inmates by pinching, 
worrying and defiling them in their sleep. The only way to 
escape from these torturers is to seize and bind them with a 
straw-rope {^aOoa^oivo). Those who possess no such rope, 
or do not feel equal to the task, take care to retire to their 
dwellings before dark and to close their doors hermetically^ 
letting the diabolical creatures continue knocking until 

"The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn, 
Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat 
Awake the god of day ; and at his warning, 

Th' extravagant and erring spirit hies 
To his confine." 

During the day the Karkantzari resume their ordinary 
human shapes. Millers for some reason or other — perhaps for 
their notorious inability to resist the insidious advice of the 
hopper, "tak' it; tak' it" — seem to be the favourite victims 
of the unclean monsters. The following characteristic tale 
throws light on the kind of treatment which millers may expect 
at the hands of the Karkantzari. 

A miller was one evening riding home from his mill,, 
between two sacks of flour. Suddenly he espied a party of 
Karkantzari a little way off on the road, and, seized with fear, 
he crouched on the pack-saddle. The enemy soon caught him 
up and set about cudgelling him without mercy, though not 
without some sense of humour, accompanying each blow with 
the exclamation : " Here goes to the one sack, here to the 
other, and here to the load between. The owner where is he V 9 

Winter Festivities 75 

(Na fcfj \ to Va to (fropTLO, va ktj \ r aXko, va tey '? to 


During the period when the Karkantzari are believed to be 
loose no marriage is solemnized. 

All the three great feasts, which are included in the Twelve 
Days, are signalized by efforts towards the extinction of these 
malevolent demons. In some districts it is the custom on 
Christmas Eve 'to burn' (icalovv) the Karkantzari. Early 
at dawn faggots of holm-oak (irovpvapia) are lighted and 
cast out into the streets. In other places, notably at Melenik, 
'they scald' {^efJuaTi^ovv) the Karkantzari to death on New 
Year's Eve. This is done in the following curious manner. 
The housewife prepares a number of cakes, called \a\aytcL&ta 
(elsewhere XaXayicLTais or Xov/covfAaSes), which she fries in a 
pan, assisted by her children. While this is going on within 
the cottage, the goodman dressed in a fur coat, wrong side out, 
stands outside the door dancing and singing: 

Ky <y(o aicavT^os, /cr} av o~fcavT%6<;' 
"A'ivTe va ypvpk^ovp.'t], 
Tpaxava va /3pe!;ov/jL7]. 

"I am a Skantzos, even as thou art one, 
Come then, let us dance together 
And let us moisten the pastry." 

He continues romping and singing until he hears the hissing 
of the syrup, as it is poured over the pancakes, and then he 
opens the door and goes in. 

In other districts again faggots are collected during the 
whole of the Twelve Days and laid up by the hearth. On 
Epiphany Eve, fire is set to them in order that the Karkantzari, 
who are supposed to be lurking beneath the ashes, may perish. 
But the orthodox way of getting rid of the demons is to wait till 
the parish priest comes round followed by a verger or a boy, 
carrying a copper vessel (puiraKpaT^i) filled with holy water. 
In this water the priest dips a cross, decorated with sprigs 
of basil, and therewith sprinkles the rooms, chanting a canticle 
appropriate to the day. The ceremony is the coup de grace 

76 Macedonian Folklore 

for the Karkantzari, who after this blow vanish completely, not 
to re-appear till next year. 

The Karkantzari seem to be a species of werewolves, akin 
to the Wild Boar and the Vrykolakas, to be described hereafter, 
and the name (XvfcdvOpooTrot), by which they are known in some 
parts of Southern Greece, leaves little doubt that around them 
still clings a shred of the ancient belief in lycanthropy. 

Christmas Eve. 

At evenfall the village boys form parties and go about 
knocking at the doors of the cottages with sticks, shouting 
' Kolianda ! Kolianda ! ' and receiving presents. Both the 
custom and the stick are named after this cry, which, like 
its variants to be noticed in the sequel, is an adaptation of the 
Roman and Byzantine term Kalendae. 1 

Incense is burnt before supper, a chief item of which is the 
cake known as 'Christ's Cake' (ILpKTToirrjTTa). In Southern 
Greece it is also the custom to make on this day a special 
kind of flat loaves with a cross drawn on the top and called 
' Christ's Loaves ' (Xpio-Toyfroyfia). The cloth is not removed 
from the table; but everything is left as it is, in the belief 
that " Christ will come and eat " during the night. A log is 
left burning in the hearth, intended to ward off the Karkantzari. 
In Thessaly an old shoe is also thrown into the fire : the smoke 
and the smell of burnt leather being considered offensive to 
the nostrils of these fiends. 

With the custom of leaving the cloth on the table and a 
burning log in the hearth may be compared the similar ob- 
servance in Brittany and other parts of Western Europe on 
the eve of All Souls' Day, the theory in those countries being 
that the souls of the departed will come and partake of the 

1 In Southern Greece the name retains more of its original form (KdKavda) 
and is applied to the Christmas carols. The Bussians also call the Christmas 
festival Kolydda, and the songs sung on Christmas Eve Kolyadki, a word 
apparently introduced into Slavonic countries, along with the Christian religion, 
from Constantinople. 

Winter Festivities 77 

supper and warm themselves at the fire, while their living 
relatives are in bed. 1 

On Christmas morning, on their way back from church, 
the peasants each pick up a stone which they deposit in 
the hearth-corner (ycovui), allowing it to remain there till 
Twelfth Day, when it is thrown away. An analogous custom 
prevails on New Year's Day in some of the islands of the 
Aegean as, for instance, Chios. When the family return home 
from morning service, the father picks up a stone which he 
leaves in the yard, with the wish that the New Year may 
bring with it " as much gold as is the weight of the stone." 
He also, on entering into the house at the head of his family, 
takes a pomegranate out of his pocket and dashes it upon the 
ground. On the symbolic significance ascribed to this fruit 
I will comment later. 

New Year's Day. 

Far more interesting and suggestive are the customs con- 
nected with the ' First of the Year ' (FLpcoToxpovui), or St Basil's 
Day (rov rr Ai Bacrikr}). 

On the Eve every household is provided with * St Basil's 
Cake ' (BaacXoTrrjTTa), in which is concealed a silver coin and 
a cross made of green twigs. This cake — which corresponds 
to our Ring-cakes of Twelfth Nigh);, but in taste is very much 
like ordinary short-bread — occupies the post of honour on the 
supper table. A candle is lighted by the housewife, who also 
fumigates with frankincense first the table and then every 
part of the dwelling. This ceremony over, the family take 
their seats on cushions round the table. The father and the 
mother seize the cake between them and break it into two 
pieces, which are again subdivided by the head of the family 
into shares. The first portion is destined for St Basil, the 
Holy Virgin, or the patron saint whose icon is in the house. 
The second stands for the house itself. The third for the 
cattle and domestic animals belonging thereto. The fourth 

1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. 11. p. 38. 

78 Macedonian Folklore 

for the inanimate property, and the rest for each member of 
the household according to age. Each portion is successively 
dipped in a cup of wine, with an appropriate preface, e.g. 
" This is for our grandfather, St Basil" (yea tov irairirov rov r> At 
3a<TL\r]), and so forth. 

He who finds the cross or the coin in his share of the cake 
is considered lucky, and whatever he undertakes to do during 
the coming year is sure to prosper. The money is looked upon 
as sacred and is devoted to the purchase of a votive taper. The 
custom of hiding a ring, a coin, or a bean in a cake about the 
time of the New Year is prevalent in many nations, our own 
included. According to mythologists the ring represents the 
sun, hidden and, as it were, buried by wintry storms and 
clouds 1 — an ingenious theory, and quite as plausible as most 
mythological interpretations of custom. 

Supper over, the table is removed to a corner of the room, 
with all the remnants of the feast left upon it, that " St Basil 
may come and partake thereof." The fire is also kept up 
throughout the night. The rest of the evening is spent in 
games among which Divination holds a prominent position. 
As the household sit round the hearth, some one lays upon 
the hot cinders a pair of wild olive leaves (%ap/3ao-£\a), 
mentally allotting each of them to a youth and a maid. If 
the leaves crumple up and draw near each other, the on- 
lookers conclude that the two young people represented thereby 
love each other dearly, the reverse, if the leaves recoil apart. 
If both leaves, instead of shrinking, flare up and are utterly 
consumed, that is a sign that the couple are excessively fond of 
each other. 2 This is the form of the game at Liakkovikia. 3 In 
■other districts, in lieu of leaves, they use the buds of a cornel- 
branch (/cpavid), and name the lad and lass to each particular 

1 Kalston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 201. 

2 A slightly different meaning is attached to the performance in Herrick's 
allusion to it : 

"Of crackling laurel, which fore-sounds 
A plenteous harvest to your grounds." Hesperides. 

Cp. Divination by nuts in England on St Mark's Eve (April 25), The Book of 
Days, vol. i. p. 550. 

8 A. A. Yovfftov, *'H /caret rb Hdyyaiov Xc6pa,' p. 49. 

Winter Festivities 79 

pair. If either of the two buds bursts and jumps up, it is taken 
as a proof that the person for whom it stands is enamoured of 
the other. Should they both burst and jump, the feeling is 
reciprocated, the reverse being augured if the buds remain 

It is hardly necessary to remind the English, and still less 
the Scotch reader, of the similar charm of ' burning the nuts ' 
practised in the North on the eve or vigil of All Saints' Day, 
and made classical by Burns's poem of Halloween. The custom 
seems to be a relic of Roman superstition. On New Years 
Day (Kal. Jan.) the Romans took omens from pistils of the 
saffron plant, as Ovid, so rich in folk-lore, informs us : 

Cernis, odoratis ut luceat ignibus aether, 
Et sonet accensis spica Cilissa focis? 1 

'Guesses' or 'divinings' (Gadaniya) of various kinds are 
also popular among the Russians, and are especially in vogue 
during the evenings of the Twelve Days (Svyatki). 2 

Maidens, not satisfied with this method of divination which, 
besides being vague, labours under the disadvantage of being 
regarded more or less in the light of a mere frivolous pastime, 
have recourse to a much more serious and convincing expedient. 
They steal a morsel of St Basil's Cake and conceal it in their 
bosom, taking good care not to be seen by any one. On going 
to bed they say " St Basil, worker of wonders, grant that what- 
ever is my destiny may appear to-night" ( r/ A£ JSaalXr) 6afia- 
rovpye, o, tl elvai a<? <\>avf) diro^e). They then put the morsel 
under their pillow and go to sleep in the certainty of dreaming 
a true dream. 

An aged lady, and a firm believer, related to me some of 
her own early experiences in St Basil's dreamland. She had 
in her youth been engaged to be married to a man of whom 
she was extremely fond. On the Eve of St Basil's Feast she 
performed the ceremony described above. She had scarcely 
fallen asleep when her lover appeared to her, pale of face and 
sad of mien. Another youth, whom she had never seen in 

1 Ovid, Fast. i. 75. 

2 Balston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 195. 

80 Macedonian Folklore 

the flesh, stood behind her betrothed and smiled at her over 
his shoulder. Frightened at the apparition she awoke. Then 
she made the sign of the cross, whispering "far be the evil 
from here!" (fia/cpva tto *$cb), and relapsed into sleep. Where- 
upon a second vision, more dreadful than the first, visited her. 
A young man of supernatural beauty stood before her, floating 
as it were in the air at a height of some three feet from the 
ground. He was arrayed in a snow-white kilt and held a 
canary in either hand. He strangled the one bird and pre- 
sented the other to her. 1 And the fair maid awoke, and, 
behold, it was a dream. But none the less her ' spirit was 
troubled' like Pharaoh's under similar circumstances. And 
well might it be. For not long after her lover died, and in 
course of time she was wooed and won by the strange youth 
who smiled at her in her sleep, and whom she recognized 
immediately on seeing him in real life. 

The superstition is well-known in England. Girls who wish 
to see their future husbands are in the habit of placing a 
piece of wedding-cake under their pillows "and extracting 
nuptial dreams therefrom," as Mr Meredith would say. 

In some parts of Macedonia, as Shatista, on New Year s Eve 
men or boys armed with bells (bibousarid) go about making 
the night hideous, presumably with a view to frightening evil 
spirits away. A similar custom in other districts prevails on 
New Year's Day itself. Early in the morning, when the church 
bells are ringing for divine service, groups of lads run up and 
down the streets with sticks or clubs in their hands and knock 
the people up, crying : " Health and joy to ye ! May St Basil 
bring plenty of wheat, plenty of barley, and plenty of children 
to ye ! " (Teid, %apd : K V ° "A-'i BatriXi;? iroWd airdpia, iroWa 
/cptddpia, 7roXXd TrriSovSta), and persist in doing so until they 
have received a gift : rolls, nuts, dry figs etc., which they deposit 
in a basket or bag carried for the purpose. A refusal to reward 
these noisy well-wishers brings upon the inmates of the house 
the reverse of a blessing. 2 In some districts the sticks are 

1 This youth she knew to be the Angel of Death. 

2 Op. the old English Shrovetide custom : " The boys go round in small 
parties, headed by a leader, who goes up and knocks at the door, leaving his 

Winter Festivities 81 

replaced by green boughs of the cornel or the olive-tree, with 
which the boys touch all whom they meet, shouting, " Soo7*va I 
Soorva I (Bulgarian for ' boughs '), May I salute thee next year 
also with the soorva" Those who are thus saluted pay tribute 
in coin or kind. 

The green bough is probably an emblem of summer fruit- 
fulness and life, as contrasted with the deathly barrenness 
of winter. 1 But the noises and the hunting with clubs may 
more plausibly be ascribed to the belief in the ' ethereal 
materiality ' of spirits and be compared to analogous practices 
current among savage races : the Australians who " annually 

followers behind him, armed with a good stock of potsherds. When the door is 
opened the hero sings : 

A-shrovin, a-shrovin, 

I be come a-shrovin; 

A piece of bread, a piece of cheese, 

A bit of your fat bacon, 

Or a dish of dough-nuts, 

All of your own making, etc. 

Sometimes he gets a bit of bread and cheese, and at some houses he is told to 
be gone ; in which latter case, he calls up his followers to send their missiles in 
a rattling broadside against the door." The Book of Days, vol. i. p. 239. Also 
Ash- Wednesday, ibid. 

1 Cp., however, the Scotch custom: "On the last night of the year they 
(the Fairies) are kept out by decorating the house with holly." J. G. Campbell, 
Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, p. 20. 

With these celebrations: the procession of the boys, their green boughs, 
their demand for presents, and their imprecations against those who refuse, we 
may compare the May Day festivities in Western Europe, of which Mannhardt, 
quoted by Mr Frazer, says : " These begging processions with May-trees or 
May-boughs from door to door had everywhere originally a serious and, so to 
speak, sacramental significance ; people really believed that the god of growth, 
was present unseen in the bough." "In other words, the mummer was 
regarded not as an image but as an actual representative of the spirit of 
vegetation ; hence the wish expressed by the attendants on the May-rose and 
the May- tree that those who refuse them gifts of eggs, bacon, and so forth, may 
have no share in the blessing which it is in the power of the itinerant spirit 
to bestow." The Golden Bough, vol. i. p. 212. The same, or a closely similar 
explanation might be extended to the begging or "gooding" processions of the 
1st of March, of the Feast of Lazarus, and of Palm Sunday, already noticed, 
as well as to that of the Feast of St John (Jan. 7th) to be described in the 
sequel. They all have some of the main characteristics in common, though the 
" bough" does not figure in all of them. 

A. F. G 

82 Macedonian Folklore 

drive from their midst the accumulated ghosts of the last year's 
dead," for example, or still better, the Gold Coast negroes who 
" from time to time turn out with clubs and torches to drive 
the evil spirits from their towns ; rushing about and beating the 
air, with frantic howling." 1 

After service are exchanged the customary wishes "For 
many years " (Krj \ errj 7ro\Xd), and the boys, holding olive- 
branches in their hands, visit the various houses, singing 'The 
Ballad of St Basil ' (Kakavha, KoXcavra, or K.6\v vrpa tov "At, 
Hactkr)) — a somewhat inconsequential composition, of which 
the following is an example. 

First of the month, and first of the year ; may it prove a happy year ! 

St Basil is coming from Caesarea, 

He is holding a picture and a book ; a book and an inkhorn. 

The inkhorn wrote and the book spoke. 

" my Basil, from whence art thou coming, from whence art thou 

descending ? " 
"From my mother I am coming, to the schoolmaster I am going." 
"Stay and eat, stay and drink, stay and sing unto us." 
*' I am learned in book-lore : songs I know not." 
"Since thou art book-learned, recite us the alpha-beta." 
He leant upon his staff to recite the alpha-beta. 
And, behold ! the staff, dry though it was, put forth green twigs. 
And upon its young twigs little birds were singing, 
And beneath, at its young roots, springs were rippling, 
And the partridges repaired thither to drink with the little birds, 
And all winged things, even the young doves, 
They fill their claws with water, and their wings with musk, 
And they sprinkle our lord, may his years be many ! 2 

These carols in some places are sung by lantern-bearing 
boys on the eve. The custom corresponds to the practice of 
Russian boys who on New Year s Eve "go about from house to 
house scattering grain of different kinds, but chiefly oats, 
singing Ovsinevuiya Pyesni." 3 It is also interesting to note 

1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. ii. p. 199; J. G. Frazer, The Golden . 
vol. m. pp. 70 foil. • 

2 The text of this song is given in A. A. Vovcriov, ''H /caret rb Tl&yyaiov 
Xt6/>a,' p. 38. It presents few points of difference from the well-known versions 
published by Passow (Nos. 294, 296—8, etc.). 

3 Ealston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 202. 

Winter Festivities 83 

that the presents which the singers receive are considered by 
Russian mythologists as " standing in lieu of the old contribu- 
tions towards a sacrifice to the gods." 1 

In older days parallel customs were current in Scotland and 
the north of England. But instead of olive-boughs the visitors 
used to carry round from house to house the Wassail bowl 
adorned with ribbons, wishing the inhabitants a prosperous 
year, and begging for the wherewithal to fill it. The songs 
also find their counterparts in the New Year carols of north 
Britain. 2 

The dry figs and other sweet things, symbols of happiness, 
which are given to the boys on this day, might perhaps be 
traced to the Roman New- Year's gifts. 3 

The 2nd of January. 

Early in the morning it is the custom in some districts of 
Macedonia to carry water from the fountain without speaking — 
" silent water " — and to pour it out across the yard and up the 
stairs, expressing by this symbol the wish that the life of the 
family during the new year may run as smoothly as the water 

1 ib. p. 206. 

2 One of them, a Gloucestershire composition, began : 

Wassail! wassail! over the town, 
Our toast it is white, our ale it is brown: 
Our bowl it is made of the maplin tree, 
We be good fellows all; I drink to thee. 

A still closer parallel is offered by an old English children's song : 

Here we come a wassailing, 

Among the leaves so green, 
Here we come a wandering 

So fair to be seen. 

Chorus, Love and joy come to you, 
And to your wassel too, 
And God send you a happy New Year, 
A New Year, etc. 

Ovid, Fast. i. 185. 

The Book of Days, vol. i. p. 28. 

84 Macedonian Folklore 

flows. The Highlanders also in days gone by indulged in 
mysterious water drawn over-night in solemn silence, of which 
all the members of the household drank, and with which they 
were sprinkled, in order to fortify themselves against the 
attacks of witches and demons during the ensuing year. 

Another superstitious custom belonging to this day is due 
to the belief of the Macedonians in the good or ill influence of 
the ' first foot/ He or she who enters a house first is supposed 
to bring into it good or bad luck for the whole twelvemonth. 
This belief gives rise to a curious observance. The visitor 
before crossing the threshold picks up a stone — token of 
strength, — or a green twig — emblem of health and fruitful- 
ness, — and lays it on the hearth. He also brings with him 
some grains of salt which he casts into the flames, and then, 
squatting by the fire-side, wishes his hosts " a prosperous year, 
a plentiful crop, and many blessings" (KaXrj xpovid, koXt) 
VoSta teal TToWd dyaOd). Then, as the grains of salt burst 
and crackle in the fire, he utters the following quaint formula : 
"As I am sitting, even so may sit the hen and warm the 
eggs. As this salt splits, even so may split the eggs of the 
clucking hen and the chickens come forth " ( f/ 07ra)? /cd0ovfiat 
yco, era i vd /cdOrjraL k rj opviOa vd ^eerraivr) r avyd. "Ottco^ 
G-fcd^ei avrb to aXas, erai va cncd^ovv icaX t avyd rrj<; /cXoocr- 
craptas koI vd ftyaivovv rd irovktd)} In some villages, like 
Pravi, the wish takes a slightly different form : " as many sparks 
fly from the splitting salt, so many chickens may be hatched 
by the brooding hen." In consistency and realistic vividness it 
would not be easy to match these acts of folk symbolism. 

The salt cast into the flames may perhaps have originally 
been meant as a sacrifice to the ancestral spirits of the family, 
and may be a survival of the mica sails, offered by the Romans 
to the deified shades of the dead during the feast of the 
Parentalia. 2 

The ceremony is known as TroBap/ctacr/jia. The prosperity 
or adversity of the household through the year is attributed 
to the lucky or unlucky ' footing ' (iroStafco or iro^apiKo) of the 

1 A. A. Tovfflov, ''H /card rb Iidyyaiov Xc6/oa,' p. 39. 

2 Ovid, Fast. n. 414. 

Winter Festivities 85 

visitor who was the first ' to set foot ' (jrohdpKiaae) within the 
house. It is well for those who believe themselves cursed with 
an unlucky foot to refrain from visiting on this day. 

The idea is as old as the Book of Genesis and possibly 
derived thence. Jacob in setting forth the blessings which 
accrued to his uncle Laban since he joined his household, lays 
stress on the good luck due to him : " the Lord hath blessed 
thee since my coming " (Heb. at my foot, Sept. eirl tw Trohi 


There is no evidence that the ancient Greeks entertained 
a like superstition, unless the epithet ' fair footed ' {fcakoirovs;), 
mentioned by Suidas, is taken to mean "with good, or auspicious 
feet," an interpretation perfectly possible, but hardly sufficient 
by itself to establish the prevalence of a superstition. 2 

Nor is the dread of comers of ill omen confined to this 
particular day, though, of course, the evil is most strictly 
guarded against at the beginning of the new year. The same 
omen is taken from every visitor, new-comer, guest or servant, 
throughout the year. It is especially observed in the case of 
a newly-married couple. If the man's affairs take an excep- 
tionally prosperous turn, it is said that the bride " has brought 
him good luck" (rbv €<f>ep€ rv^rj), and she is henceforth re- 
garded as a 'lucky woman' (rv^epr) or icaXop plotter}). An 
analogous belief attaches to the 'first handing^ {^epttco). 
Some persons are gifted with a good hand, others with an evil 
one (/caXoppi&fco and tea/coppify/co x^P L )> anc ^ a tradesman con- 
strues the success or failure that attends his business during 
the day into the good or evil influence of his first customer in 
the morning. Further, a sponsor is said to have an ' unlucky 
hand ' if two of the children which he has helped to christen 
die in succession. A cook is also said to possess a ' nice ' or a 
* nasty hand ' (voa-rvfjio or avoaro %^P C ) according to the quality 
of his dishes. 

1 Gen. xxx. 30. Cp. ib. xxxix. 5. 

2 For an interesting account of the first-foot custom in Scotland see The 
Book of Days, vol. I. pp. 28 foil. 

86 Macedonian Folklore 

(%eo$aveia or rd <&a)ra.) 

On the Eve of the Epiphany a general cleaning is carried 
on in every house. The ashes, which accumulated in the 
hearth during the Twelve Days, are swept away and along with 
them the Karkantzari, who are believed to be hiding there. 
In the evening a special ' Epiphany- Cake ' (^?(OT67rr}TTa), cor- 
responding to the old English Twelfth-Cake, is prepared. 
" Silly unidea'd girls" sit up all night in the fond, though not 
unromantic, hope of seeing "the heavens open" (dvouyovv rd 
ovpdvia). This event is expected to take place at dawn, and it 
is held that all wishes uttered at that propitious moment will 
be instantly realized. 

With this Christian superstition may be compared a 
Mohammedan practice. The followers of the Prophet on the 
27th of Ramazan observe what they call the 'Night of Power 7 
(Leil-ul-Kadr), the night which "is worth more than a thousand 
months." That night, as well as all the four nights from the 
26th to the 29th of the month, is spent in prayer, and the 
belief prevails that at a certain, though unknown, moment 
during that night "all the requests of those who are found 
worshipping are granted" 1 — a belief based on the saying of the 
Koran that, " in that night descend the angels and the spirit by 
permission of their Lord, carrying His orders in every matter. 
It is peace till the rising of the dawn." 2 

One is strongly tempted by the close similarity of the two 
customs to suspect that the one is an offshoot of the other — a 
temptation rendered stronger by the proximity in which Moham- 
medans and Christians have lived in Macedonia for so many 
centuries. But this hypothesis is precluded by the fact that 
the same, or closely analogous, superstitions exist in lands 
never trodden by Mohammedan foot. In Russia the Twelve 
or, as they are there termed, Holy Evenings are by the rustic 

1 "Odysseus," Turkey in Europe, p. 206. 

2 The Koran, Sura xcvir. Alkadr. 

Winter Festivities 87 

mind associated with all sorts of wonderful revelations : hidden 
treasures are disclosed during that period, the new-born Divinity 
comes down from heaven and wanders about on earth, and, 
above all, at midnight on the eve of Christmas and the 
Epiphany u the heavenly doors are thrown open ; the radiant 
realms of Paradise, in which the Sun dwells, disclose their 
treasures ; the waters of springs and rivers become animated, 
turn into wine, and receive a healing efficacy; the trees put 
forth blossoms, and golden fruits ripen upon their boughs/' 1 
These ideas are also common among Teutonic races. It will, 
therefore, be seen that the roots of the belief entertained by the 
Christians of Macedonia lie too deep to be directly connected 
with the similar belief held by their Mohammedan neighbours. 

The dawn of the Feast itself is in some districts hailed by 
the cries of the boys, who run about the streets shouting " Eo ! 
Eo ! " After divine service the same boys go round from house 
to house singing. But the chief observance on this day is the 
one described below. 

After matins it is the custom — handed down from im- 
memorial antiquity — to thrust some one into the water : the sea 
or the river, if the village happens to be situated near one or 
the other, or, if too far from either, into a pond or a well. He 
who is singled out to play the principal part in the performance 
afterwards receives a prize for his involuntary immersion. The 
person thus distinguished can buy himself off by paying a 
greater sum of money than the reward offered. He also has 
the right to claim that the doubtful honour should be inflicted 
upon the proposer instead — a suggestion acted upon, unless the 
latter bids higher for exemption. The one who is finally 
doused, on emerging from the water sprinkles the bystanders, 
and they all join in a banquet got up with the prize money. 2 

This custom in Southern Greece, under the name of 'Diving 
for the cross/ is invested with a quasi-religious character, the 
cross being generally thrown into the water with much pomp 
and circumstance by the officiating priest or bishop at the close 
of morning mass. But in either case, it seems to have its 

1 Ealston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 201. 

2 A. A. Tovfftov, ''H /caret to llayy cllov Xc6/oa,' p. 40. 

88 Macedonian Folklore 

remote origin in the "healing efficacy" and other virtues 
attributed to the waters at this time of year — an idea, like so 
many others, adopted by Christianity, but still retaining enough 
of its primitive character to guide the student to its pre- 
Christian source. It may be worth while to add that in one 
case, in Western Macedonia, I heard the well, used as the scene 
of the performance, called ' the Well of the Drakos ' (to irrjydBi, 
tov kpatcov). If this was not a simple coincidence, it may be 
taken as a hint — obscure indeed, but not utterly valueless — 
that perhaps in this ceremony lurks a relic of an old human 
sacrifice to the Spirit of the Waters. 

January 7th. 

On the following day is held one of the many feasts of 
St John the Precursor and Baptist ('H awaits tov Jlpohpofjuov 
Kal Ba7TTicrTov 'Icodvvov). On that day in the villages of the 
interior is observed a custom outwardly analogous to the 
Carnival Festivities, which later in the year are popular in the 
towns on the coast and in the islands of the Aegean. 

Parties of men disguised in old clothes, or goat-skins, and 
girt with chains of bells, go about the streets making a terrific 
noise and levying blackmail. These mummers are called baboyeri 
(fA7rafjL7r6yepot), but, so far from conducing to merriment, their 
object seems to be to strike terror into man, woman, and child. 
This practice appears to be the descendant of manners much 
earlier than the Italian carnovale, which has been grafted upon 
it in the localities brought under Frank influence. 

On this day also in some places occurs a custom identical 
with those we have already noticed as belonging to the Day of 
Lazarus and Palm-Sunday. The following details concerning 
the practice at Kataphygi, a village on the slopes of Mount 
Olympus, are culled from an interesting sketch by a native 
of the district, published in an Athenian magazine several years 
ago 1 . 

The choristers, corresponding to the Lazarus and Palm 

1 T. Uairayeojpy lov, l 01 Ilpofyo^rcu,' in the 'E<rrla of April 17, 1888. 

Winter Festivities 89 

Maids, are here grown up males and are called from the name 
of the feast 'Precursor Men' (TLpoSpofiLTai,). Groups of these 
minstrels assemble after church in the market place, which in 
common with the rest of the village is at this time of year 
generally covered with snow. Out of the number four are 
selected to lead the groups. These are considered the best 
rhapsodes of the village, and represent the four parishes into 
which it is divided. Each of them, followed by a cortege of 
eight or ten individuals, goes round from house to house, where 
they find a table ready-spread with sweets and refreshments. 
Having partaken of the good cheer and made themselves 
thoroughly at home, they proceed to fill the skins and bottles, 
which boys carry for them, with everything that they cannot 
carry off in any other way. Then, divided into two semi- 
choruses, they sing by turns songs addressed to each member 
of the family, beginning with a general panegyric on the 
hospitable house itself. The hyperbolic tone of these com- 
positions detracts nothing from their pretty nawetS. Here 
follow a few typical examples: 

I. To the house. 

'ESw Ve tovttjv rrjv av\r] rrj fiapfiapoaTpcofxei/rj, 
'ESeHf^oiw y^iXta irpo^ara /cal Svb xikidSe? ytSca. 
'S tov /cdfji7ro ra Kare^a^av vd ra irepL^oa-Krjcrovv, 
Kal \ to /3ovvb ravefia^av vd ra vepoTroriaovv. 
K97 o fHaaikrias iStdfiaivev diro to ra^etBio to v. 
To fiavpo tov fcovTO/cpaT€C y Kal to /3octk6 pcoTaec 
" Bpe To-iofjLirave, /3/oe irio-Tiice, /3pe /caytceXocfrpvSdTe, 
To tlvo<z elv Ta irpoftaTa t dpyvpoKOvScovdra ;" 
"T' d<j>ivTr) fjua? tcl irpofiaTa r dpyvpoKOvSctivdra" 
u Kal rlvo? elvat to fiavTpl fie to <f)\copl irXeyfievo ; " 
" T' dcj>evT7] fias zeal to fiavTpl fie to (j>Xcopl ifkeyfievo" 

Here in this marble-paved court, 

Here there are a thousand sheep and two thousand goats. 
They were driven down to the plain to browse on the grass, 
They were driven up to the hill to be watered at the springs. 
Behold, the king is passing on his return from abroad. 

90 Macedonian Folklore 

He reins in his steed and of the shepherd asks : 

"0 shepherd, O tender of flocks, thou of the arched eyebrows, 

Whose are the sheep with the silver bells?" 

"My lord's are the sheep with the silver bells." 

" And whose is the fold fenced round with a fence of golden coins ? * 

"My lord's is the fold fenced round with a fence of golden coins." 

II. To the master of the house. 

A<j>€VT7] flOV TTpCDTOTlfie fCdl TTpCOTOTlfjiTJ/xive, 

JJpcord <re rifirjaev 6 6eib<$ k varep 6 /coct/jlos 0X0$, 
Se TL/uL7}<r€ Kjj 6 fta(Tikr)a<; va iras va <TTe<pav<i)<rr}<$. 
<£>fciav€L<; <TT€<pavca tto <f>Xo)pl /cal ra fcrjpta V darj/ju 
Kal to (TT€<f)avo/jidvTrjXo 0X0 /jLapyapirdpc. 

r/ Oa dcrrpa *vai '<? tov ovpavb /cal <f>vXXa ^vai \ rd Sevrpa, 
Too - ' dairp eyje.i dfykvT^ /za?, (f)Xo)pid /cal /eapaypoo-ia, 
Me to raydpi rov fierpa, jjue to kolXo tov plyvei. 

, Ei/J,€Tp / rj(T€, ^€fl€TpTJ<T€, rov Xeiirovv Tp€i<; %lXtd$€S, 

Kal Trjv tcaXrj tov pcoTrj^e /cat ttjv KaXrj tov Xeec 

" KaXij fjbov, irovvai Tacnrpd /xa?, /cal itovvai Ta (frXcopcd fia$ ; " 

" 'Eyeo ^Xe<ya, dcfrevTr} jjlov, vd pur) fjuov to pooTrj^j)*;, 

Kat T(i)pa ttov /ne pd)Tr]^e<; 6d vol to ' pboXoytfcrco. 

IloXXoi <f>iXov jjbd<$ eirecrav Kal Ta/ca/jbd/jue yapT^i! y 

My lord, worthy of the first honour and honoured first, 

First Heaven hath honoured thee and then the whole world, 

The King hath also honoured thee and summoned thee to be his best-man. 

Thou makest the wedding wreaths of gold, and the tapers of silver, 

And the wedding kerchief broidered with pure pearls. 

As many stars as are in the heavens and leaves upon the trees, 
So many piastres hath my lord, also florins and black ghroshes. 
He measureth them out by the bag, he throweth them away by the 

One day he counted them, and counted them again : three thousand 

are missing. 
He questioned his fair one. His fair one he questioneth : 
" My fair one, where are our piastres, where are our florins 1 " 
"I hoped, my lord, that thou wouldst not ask me, 
But since thou dost ask me, I will confess unto thee : 
We were beset by too many friends, and have squandered our fortune." 

Winter Festivities 91 

III. To the mistress of the house. 

Aev irpeTTovv r dpyvpd icopnrid \ to irpdaivo to pov^o, 

Aev irpenrev tov d<j>ivT7) pa? va irai^rj jxe rrjv tcoprf 

'S Ta yovara va rrjv Kparjj, \ ra fxaria vd rrjv %tcl%V* 

" Koprj /jl, Sev elacu poStvrj, /copy p,\ Sev elaai acnrprj" 

" Sdis deXrjs vafjuai pohuvr), adv deXrjs vdpuai aa7rpr), 

%vpe \ rrjv ^AvrpiavoviroXiy avpe \ rrj ^aXovifcrj, 

Ky dyopaai julov ^cottXclto, cep/Sccon/co ^ovvdpi, 

Na creLw/JLai, vd Xvyi^copLai, va (paivcovrai, rd koXXt)' 

Silver buttons become not a garment worn green, 

Nor does it become our lord to toy with a maid' 

To hold her on his knees, to gaze into her eyes : 

" Maid mine, thou art not rosy ; maid mine, thou art not fair." 

" An thou wouldst me be rosy ; an thou wouldst me be fair, 

Hie thee to Adrianople, hie thee to Salonike, 

And purchase me a broad Servian girdle, 

That I may swing and sway in it, and display my charms." 

IV. To a newly-married pair. 

(A fragment) 

'A?7T09 fiao-ra rrjv irepSi/ca Vo irdvco \ rd qbrepd tov> 
K' f) irephiKa \d%€v ftapeid teal pdloe to <j>T€p6 tov. 

AcaXaX^TaSe^ efta^av 9 oXa Ta /3cXaeTia' 

II0W ex darj/ju, dSoXo teal <pXcopo/ca7rvta/jb€vo 

Na 8ea 6 veib? tt) qbovvTa tov k rj /coprj Ta jjuaXXcd T77?. 

An eagle carried aloft a partridge upon his wings. 

The partridge chanced to be too heavy, and his wing broke. 

They set criers in all the provinces : 

"Who owns silver pure or plated with gold (let him produce it), 

That the youth may tie therewith his tassel 1 and the maid her tresses." 

1 That is, the tassel of his cap. 

92 Macedonian Folklore 

V. Farewell. 

HoWd 'irafjue icfj dirovira/jbe, rcopa ktj diro atfid rov. 
Avcre t, d(f>€VT7j fi\ \v<re rrjv dpyvprj <rarc/cov\a, 
K97 av e%#<? acrnrpa, S09 fid? ra, (fiXoopid fitf ra Xviraacu, 
K?) av exys /cava %a6jo\e, icepva rd TraWrjtcdpia. 


"Ovai? vyeiats Toaais yapals teal 9 (f>ero /ef) o\o eva> 

Na ^770-779 xpovovs e/caro ical irevraicoGLa Qcora, 

Na ^rjcrys <rdv rov "Ylkvfjbiro, crdv r aypio TcepuiT&pi. 

We have sung much and have done with singing. Now let us be gone. 
Loosen, my lord, loosen the strings of thy silver purse, 
And if thou hast piastres, give of them to us ; gold pieces, spare them not. 
And if thou happen'st to have a wine-jar, serve out wine to the lads. 1 

They drink, and then continue : 

As many healths (as we have drunk) so many rejoicings (may there be) 

this year and for ever, 
Mayest thou live a hundred years and five hundred Twelfth Days, 
Mayest thou live as long as Olympus, as long as the rock-pigeon. 

The goodman or his wife gives them some money at parting. 
These donations are handed over to the churchwarden of the 
parish, who as a reward for their labour invites them on the 
following day to a sumptuous banquet. In the evening a dance 
is set up in the public dancing-ground, which is thronged by 

1 On the similarity between these carols and analogous compositions once 
popular in England I have commented in a foregoing chapter. The following 
description forms an especially close parallel to the Macedonian customs 
described above: "At Harrington, in Worcestershire, it is customary for 
children on St Thomas's Day to go round the village begging for apples, and 
Wassail, wassail, through the town, 
If you've got any apples, throw them down ; 
Up with the stocking, and down with the shoe, 
If you've got no apples, money will do ; 
The jug is white and the ale is brown, 
This is the best house in the town." 
A kindred custom still surviving in England is that of the 'Advent Images' 
or going about with a 'vessel-cup,' the performers being styled 'vessel-cup 
singers.' The Book of Days, vol. 11. pp. 724 — 5. 

Winter Festivities 93 

all the inhabitants of the village. The dance is accompanied 
by various songs, among which the first place is held by the 
Ballad of Captain Stat has, a famous Klepht of Agrapha, in 
Aetolia. It runs as follows : 

'2 r "Aypa<l>a kXclUi fica irairahudj fiifcpr} irairahoirovXa, 
Tirfpav oi KXe<^Tai^ top vyio, ktj oXXop vyio Sep €%€t. 
Tpd<j)ovv yapTid /cai TrpoftoSovp, ypd(f>ovv y^aprid teal areXpovp* 
" *£ iaeva, KaTrer dv-%ra6 'a, '9 oXa rd iraXXrjfcdptaj 
Mi] fiov %aXa<rT€ rov vyio, r aXXov vyio Sep e^«. 
TaaTrpdfya '9 top ypafjufiari/co, ircoXl \ rov Kairerdvo, 
Kr) dir&va 'o-rj/jLOfid'xaLpo '9 oXa rd TraXXrj/cdpia. 

In the town of Agrapha there weeps a priestess, the young wife of a priest ; 

For the brigands have carried off her son, and she has no other son. 

Letters are written and dispatched, letters are written and sent : 

" To thee, Captain Stathas, and all thy braves : — 

Kill ye not my son, for no other son have I. 

(I promise) breast-plates for the Secretary, and a pioli 1 for the Captain, 

And a silver knife apiece for all the braves." 

The Basil 

In describing the mid-summer and mid-winter ceremonies 
of the Macedonian peasantry I have had occasion more than 
once to allude to the plant known to the ancients as * ocimum 
royal' (w/cc/jlop fiaaiXifcdp) and now called simply 'royal* 
(/3ao-67U/eo9). We have seen it employed in the decorations of 
the ' divining pitcher ' in June, and in the sprinkling away of 
the dreadful Karkantzari in January. These are only two of 
the many parts which the basil plays in the peasant's life, 
religious as well as secular. Its title is not a misnomer. The 
basil is really and truly considered by the peasants as a Prince 
amemg plants. I know not whether it owes its sovereignty to 
the beautiful greenness of its leaves, or to the white purity of its 
diminutive blossoms, or to the sweet aroma which clings to both, 
even after they are dry and to all appearance dead. However 

1 This is a word the meaning of which I neither know nor can guess. It 
may be a form of ttkttSXi 'a pistol,' which would balance the 'breast-plates.' 

94 Macedonian Folklore 

that may be, the basil is held in very high esteem and seems 
to know it, if any faith can be placed in the poetic conceits of 
the following songs, which I heard at different times in two 
different parts of Macedonia. 

I. {From Melenik.) 

BacrtX^/ee fJiov TpifcXcove, ixrtv TroXvirpactvL^y^. 
'Er/rjbfjLai to yapov<f>vXXo, to rrpcoTO to XovXovSc y 
f TLov to <f)opovv y epLOptyais fey oXacs rj fiavpo/jb/jLaTr)?, 
Tlov to <i>opel dydirr] fiov dvapueaa *9 to, aTrjdea. 

The Pink and the Basil. 

" My three-branched basil, bloom thou not so proudly green ! 
I am the pink, first among flowers, 

Which the fair maidens and all the black-eyed ones wear, 
Which my own love wears between her breasts." 

II. (From Nigrita.) 

c O 'Svocr//,09 fey 6 f3aaiXuco<; real to jjba/ceSovrjat 

Ta Bvo tcl Tpla fidXcovav zeal Trr/yaivav '? tt) /cplcrt. 

TvpL^ei, 6 ftao-iXiicbs zeal Xeev '9 Ta XovXovBia* 

" Sft)7raTe, /3pco/AoXovXov8a, /cat [Jbrjv iroXvirawkaTe \ 

'JLywfiai 6 ftao-iXt/cos 6 fioa^ofivpiafievo^, 

*ILycb fjLVpi^co irpdcrivo^ fea0(b<; /cat aTeyvcofxevo^, 

'Eyco fiTratvco \ tou9 ay uxcr fiovs tc eh tov iraird Ta ^epia, 

'E^ct) <f>iXa> 7779 efiopcpais xal 7779 /navpo/jufiaTovaai^. 

The Peppermint, the Basil, and the Parsley. 

The peppermint, the basil, and the parsley, 

The two between them, and all three amongst them wrangled and went 

to judgment : 
Then turns the basil and thus addresses the (other) plants : 
" Hold your tongues, ye ill-smelling herbs, and be ye not over-boastful : 
I am basil the musk-scented. 

I am sweetly fragrant when green and also when dry. 
I enter into the Holy Services and into the Priest's own hands. 
I kiss the fair maidens and the black-eyed ones ! " 



Besides the guesses and divinings already discussed in con- 
nection with the Feast of St John in summer, and New Year's 
Eve in winter, there are several methods of divination which 
are not confined to any particular season of the year : the oracle 
is always open and ready to satisfy the cravings of the un- 
tutored mind with predictions certain to be fulfilled — provided 
the questioner has faith, and a moderate capacity for self- 

To the divination by tea, or ' cup-reading/ still remembered 
in English, and more especially in Scotch country places, cor- 
responds the Macedonian practice of divining by coffee : One 
solitary bubble in the centre of the cup betokens that the 
person holding it possesses one staunch and faithful friend. If 
there are several bubbles forming a ring close to the edge of 
the cup, they signify that he is fickle in his affections, and that 
his heart is divided between several objects of worship. 1 The 
grounds of coffee are likewise observed and variously explained 
according to the forms which they assume: If they spread 
round the cup in the shape of rivulets and streams money is 
prognosticated, and so forth. 

A memory of another, now, to the best of my knowledge, 
extinct form of divination, probably survives in the proverb : 
Kairoios hev el^e nroibv va pmrrjarj teal pcorovae to hiicaviKi rov. 

1 Coffee bubbles possess a meteorological meaning in English folk-lore, see 
E. Inwards, Weather Lore, p. 199. In America, appropriately enough, "a group 
of bubbles on a cup of coffee signifies money," Memoirs of the American Folk- 
Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 87. 

96 Macedonian Folklore 

" Some one in want of a counsellor consulted his staff." The 
phrase seems to be a reminiscence of an old use of the wand for 
purposes similar to those of the modern 'divining rod.' 1 At 
any rate, the demanding advice of the staff forcibly recalls the 
biblical passage " My people ask counsel at their stocks, and 
their staff declareth unto them." 2 

"The riddles are working miracles and the sieves are 
dropping " (dafiaTOvpyovv ra icdcnciva zeal ire^rovv rj irvicvahes) 
is another popular saying, used to describe any unaccountable 
or sudden noise in the house. It probably alludes to the " feats 
of impulsive pots, pans, beds and chairs," spoken of by 
Mr Andrew Lang, 3 with, perhaps, a faint reference to coscino- 
mancy — one of the commonest of classic and mediaeval methods 
of divination. Its meaning, however, is entirely gone, and it 
remains as a mere phrase or figure of speech. 

It is with a sense of relief that one turns from the shadowy 
regions of conjecture to the realms of reality. To the methods 
of hydromancy, or divination by water, described already, 
deserves to be added the art of divining by bones — an art 
still resting upon the firm rock of credulity. The principal 
instrument used in this kind of divination is the shoulder-blade 
{ayfioirXdrr}) of a lamb or kid, and hence the process is techni- 
cally termed omoplatoscopy. When the bone in question has 
been carefully cleansed of the meat which adheres to it, it is 
held up to the light and subjected to the expert's scrutiny : if 
its colour is a glowing red, it portends prosperity ; if white, and 
semi-transparent, it forebodes extreme poverty and misery. 
This general interpretation is supplemented and modified by 
various minor details. Thus, for example, black spots round 
the edges and only a small darkish space in the middle are 
omens of impending disaster. A white transparent line running 
across from end to end indicates a journey. Black veins fore- 

1 See A. Lang, Custom and Myth, pp. 180-196. 

2 Hosea iv. 12. 

3 Cock Lane and Common Sense, p. 31. 

The case from Mr Graham Dalyell's Darker Superstitions of Scotland, quoted 
by the same author (ib. p. 123) where " The sive and the wecht dancit throw 
the hous " is particularly in point. 

Divination 97 

shadow discord and war. A hollow or a tumour on the surface 
is a sign of serious calamity, such as dangerous illness or even 
death. The same rules apply to the examination of a fowl's 
breast-bone (a-rrjOdpc), which the folk from its shape fantasti- 
cally call 'saddle' (aa/judpt) or 'camel' (/ea/^Xa). For instance, 
if it is clear and pale with only the three corners shaded, it 
augurs great happiness to the owner. For this purpose a hen 
or cock is specially kept in the villager's poultry yard, and 
after it has been immolated and cooked, the breast-bone is 
extracted, and some modern Calchas sets to work " to look for 
the luck of the household " (vd Siov/xe rov gttitlov to rv^epo). 

Omoplatoscopy chiefly flourishes among the shepherds of 
Western Macedonia, and is also extensively cultivated in 
Albania. 1 But, as folklorists are aware, this quaint art — a 
relic of ancient haruspication — is by no means confined to the 
Balkan Peninsula. At one time it must have been spread far 
and wide through Europe ; for we still find survivals of it both 
on the continent and in the British Isles. In England it is 
very appropriately termed " reading the speal-bone (speal — 
espaule ' shoulder ')." It is related to the old Chinese divination 
by the cracks of a tortoise-shell on the fire. It is very popular 
in Tartary, and on the discovery of the New World the North- 
American Indians were found to be familiar with it. They 
"would put in the fire a certain flat bone of a porcupine 
and judge from its colour if the porcupine hunt would be 
successful." 2 

The prevalence of this method of divination in lands and 
races so remote as, say, Ireland and China, suggests the problem 
which so frequently confronts the student of custom : Is it due 
to transmission from one country to another, or is it a case of 
independent production ? If the former, when and how and by 
whom was it transplanted, and did it first see the light in 
the East or in the West ? It is perhaps the difficulty, not to 
say the impossibility, of giving a satisfactory answer to these 
questions that usually induces folklorists to adopt the view of 
spontaneous and independent development, though in many 

1 Tozer, Researches in the Highlands of Turkey, vol. i. p. 331. 

2 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 124. 

A. F. 7 

98 Macedonian Folklore 

cases — and this is one of them — it is not quite clear why different 
nations should have hit upon exactly identical modes of action. 

Another custom connected with a fowl's skeleton ought 
perhaps to be mentioned here, though it is a mere game and 
bears only a distant relation to divination. This is the pastime 
known as Yadis, or ' Remembrance.' 1 The ' merry-thought ' 
or, as it is still called in some parts of England and Ireland, 
' wishing-bone ' of the fowl is picked out, and two persons take 
hold of it, each gripping one arm with his little finger and 
tugging until the fork has snapped. From that moment the 
two parties are careful not to accept any object handed by one 
to the other, without saying " Yadis" He who is the first 
to forget forfeits something agreed upon beforehand. It is 
a wager, or rather a trial of rival memories. 

Several other superstitions of a kindred nature may be 
noticed in this connection. 

A flickering flame in the fire, or an upright excrescence in 
a burning candle, is interpreted as predicting the arrival of a 
guest, whose stature is judged by the length of the flame or 
excrescence. This mode of divination by the fire is not un- 
known in England. Mrs Elizabeth Berry, for instance, " noted 
a supernatural tendency in her parlour fire to burn all on 
one side," and she very shrewdly concluded that a wedding 
approached the house — a conclusion fully justified by the 
event, as readers of Mr Meredith's Richard Fever el will 
remember. 2 

If in carving bread a thin slice drops out of the loaf, it 
is supposed to indicate the return of a friend or relative from 
foreign parts. 3 The same intimation is conveyed by bubbles in 
coffee, or by the accidental fall of a piece of soap on the floor. 

If one drains a glass of the contents of which some one else 
has partaken, he will learn the secrets of the latter. 

1 Persian yad, l memory. ' 

2 Fires and candles also prognosticate changes in the weather in English 
folklore; see E. Inwards, Weather Lore, p. 197. 

3 In America "if you drop a slice of bread with the buttered side up, it is 
a sign of a visitor." Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 89 ; 
see also pp. 90 foil. 

Divination 99 

If two persons wipe their hands on the same towel at the 
same time, they will soon quarrel. 1 A similar rupture attends 
the act of receiving a tablet of soap directly from another 
persons hand. To avoid sad consequences people are careful 
to lay the soap down, instead of handing it to each other 

If two persons raise their glasses to their lips simultaneously, 
they are destined to die on the same day. 

If a shoe is accidentally turned toes upward, it is im- 
mediately set right, lest its owner should die. For this is the 
position of a dead man's feet. 

Lying in bed with the head towards the west is also a 
posture to be avoided, as it resembles the position of the corpse 
when lying in state. 

For a similar reason three lights in a room constitute a fatal 
sign, as they recall the three candles burning beside the corpse 
before the funeral. 2 

Likewise it is unlucky to be measured, for it suggests the 
taking of one's measurements for the construction of one's coffin. 3 

To sit with the face resting in one's hands portends the 
loss of one's mother, or, as the peasants strangely put it, 
" You will devour your own mother's bones ! " (Oa <j>a<; ra 
KOK/caXa t?)? /idvvas aov). Sitting with the fingers interlocked 
is likewise an evil omen. For both attitudes are typical of a 
state of woe. 4 

If one's girdle becomes loosened, it means that some woman 
enceinte belonging to the family has just been delivered. This 
is undoubtedly an instance of divination derived from sym- 
pathetic or imitative magic. A girdle loosened accidentally is; 
construed into an omen of an easy delivery. In olden times 
most probably the girdle was deliberately loosened in order to 

1 Cp. similar superstition in Pennsylvania, Memoirs of the American Folk- 
Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 135. 

2 In America also "Three lamps or candles burned close together mean 
death." lb. p. 126. 

3 Cp. the American superstition "If an infant be measured, it will die 
before its growing time is over." lb. p. 25. 

4 Cp. G. Georgeakis et Leon Pineau, Le Folk-Lore de Lesbos, p. 335. 


100 Macedonian Folklore 

bring about this effect. Conversely, we are told, " the physical 
obstacle or impediment of a knot on a cord would create a 
corresponding obstacle or impediment in the body of the 
woman." 1 Perhaps a similar idea underlies the ancient Greek 
expression ^covrjv Xveiv ' to unloose the girdle/ applied to Artemis 
in her character of patroness of women in travail. 

If one's leg grows numb, he must spit three times upon it, 
that the stiffness may go to a female relative in an interesting 
condition and accelerate her delivery. 

If the thread gets tangled in sewing, that suggests that the 
garment on which it is employed will bring health and prosperity 
to the person who is to wear it (0d to fyopeo-rj fjue %apa or fjue 
vyeCa), the influence of the tangled thread being akin to that 
of a knot, with which we shall become more familiar in the 
course of this treatise. 

If the hem of a garment turns up on the back, the wearer 
is destined to get a new one soon, 2 an omen resting on the 
notion that a coat worn wrong side out brings luck to the owner 
and protects him against sorcery (§€ rov irtdvovv ra jjudjeta). 

When one puts on a new dress, it is the custom to wish 
him joy of it : "May you wear it with health" 3 (Nd to x a PV^- 
Na to (fiopearjs /M6 ^yeta, etc.). Like wishes are offered on the 
purchase of anything new, the building of a new house, etc. 4 

At the end of a meal, or after having partaken of any re- 
freshment, it is polite for the host to wish his guest " with 
health " (Me 777? vyeiais era?). 

If a visitor finds the people on whom he calls at table, it is 
a sign that his mother-in-law will be fond of him, a blessing as 
great as it is rare. 

That he will be loved by his mother-in-law, or that he will 

1 For an exhaustive dissertation on Knots at Childbirth, see J. G. Frazer, 
The Golden Bough, vol. 1. pp. 392 foil. 

2 The same superstition exists in America, Memoirs of the American Folk- 
Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 142. 

3 Cp. a similar custom among the Celts : J. G. Campbell, Superstitions of the 
Highlands and Islands of Scotland, p. 231. 

4 The Arabs also on these occasions wish the owner that his possession maj r 
prove 'prosperous' (mabrook). 

Divination 101 

become a priest, is also prognosticated of one who likes to eat 
the crust of bread. 

If one, while eating, leaves a small bit inadvertently, it is 
said that some member of the family is hungry. But if he 
leaves it purposely, he is made to eat it, or else he will lose his 

If something is broken, two more things will follow, that 
the number of the Trinity may be completed (eyive ayia 
TpiciSa). 1 Such an accident is considered as appeasing Nemesis, 
and some housewives console themselves with the reflection 
that the 'ill luck' (yovpaov&d) has spent itself, and greater 
evils have been averted. Others, of a more pessimistic turn, 
however, look upon it as a forerunner of more serious calamities, 
and cross themselves while despondently muttering " may it 
turn out well!'' (ok icaXb va fia? ftyfj /). 

Eventide observances. 

Sweeping after dark is bad, as it sweeps away the 'prosperity' 
of the household (to inrepeiceTi rod o-ttltiov). The same super- 
stition exists in some of the islands of the Aegean, 2 and other 
parts of Greece, as well as in many other countries, including 
America. 3 Nor is it advisable to give water out of the house 
after sunset (ci/jlo, fiao-iXeyjrr} 6 rjXios). If pressed, one must 
pour out into a cup some of the contents of the pitcher before 
giving it away. The same restriction applies to leaven (trpo^vpui). 
Vinegar also is not to be drawn after dark. 4 

Salt or a sieve must not on any account be lent out of the 
house at any time of day or night. It is believed that along 
with these articles will depart the prosperity of the family. 

1 Likewise in America it is held that " if there is a death there will be three 
deaths in the family within a short time," and "if you break something, you 
will break two other things," Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. 
pp. 130, 134. 

2 W. H. D. Rouse, 'Folklore from the Southern Sporades,' in Folk-Lore, 
June, 1899, p. 181. 

3 Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. pp. 82, 147. 

4 For similar superstitions in Southern Greece, see Bennell Rodd, The 
Customs and Lore of Modern Greece, p. 156. 

102 Macedonian Folklore 

In Lesbos onions, salt and matches are the articles forbidden 
to be given out of the house after sunset. 1 

It is interesting and instructive to compare with these 
some superstitions prevailing in the Highlands of Scotland : 

" A sieve should not be allowed out of the house after dark, 
and no meal, unless it be sprinkled with salt. Otherwise, the 
Fairies may, by means of them, take the substance out of the 
whole farm produce." 2 

On certain days of the year also the Scotch forbore giving 
fire out. of the house. On Beltane and Lammas especially, 
" it should not be given, even to a neighbour whose fire had gone 
out. It would give him the means of taking the substance or 
benefit (toradh) from the cows." 3 

The reason alleged for the Celt's custom corresponds with 
the Macedonian expression that these articles, if allowed out 
of the house, " will take away the prosperity of the family." 
The prohibition concerning the loan of a sieve may more 
particularly be accounted for by the belief that a sieve forms 
a strong safeguard against evil spirits and witches. 

It is further said that you should not "eat bread," that 
is dine, at sundown. A possible explanation of this behest 
may be found in several Greek folk-songs. From these com- 
positions we learn that Charontas (Death) and his wife 
Charontissa sup at that time of the day. 4 

Concerning bread, salt, etc. 

The spilling of wine is a sign of wealth ; the spilling of 
pepper betokens a quarrel. But the spilling of oil, vinegar, 5 or 
arrack forebodes nothing less than the ruin of the household. 

If one wilfully scatters salt upon the ground and does not 

1 G. Georgeakis et Leon Pineau, Le Folk-Lore de Lesbos, p. 328. 

2 J. G. Campbell, Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 
p. 35. 

3 lb. p. 234. 

4 Bernhard Schmidt, Lieder von Gharos und der Unterwelt, Nos. 25-27. 

5 It is perhaps significant that in some parts of Greece Proper, the name 
for vinegar is the euphemistic term yXvMi 'sweet/ instead of £ei5i 'sour,' 
which is the ordinary word. 

Divination 103 

hasten to pick it up, it is believed that in the next world he 
will be doomed to pick up grains of salt with his eyelids. 
This belief exemplifies in a vivid manner the veneration 
with which salt is regarded by the people. It is looked upon 
as a ' gift of God,' and any wanton waste of it is certain to be 
punished as a sacrilege. 

Nor is the value set on salt less high elsewhere. Among 
the Scotch Highlanders and Islanders the theft of salt was 
considered an unpardonable crime to be severely punished both 
in this and in the life to come. 1 In America also spilling salt 
is unlucky. 2 

A like sacredness, even in a higher degree if possible, 
attaches to bread. No crumbs are thrown out in the street. 
When the peasants shake the table-cloth, they take care that the 
crumbs shall fall into some out-of-the-way corner, where they 
can be picked up by the birds. If a piece of bread lies on the 
road, the peasant dares not tread upon it ; on the contrary, he 
stoops, picks it up and deposits it in some crevice in a wall or 
hedge, beyond the reach of profane feet. " By the bread which 
we eat " (Ma rb ^(Ofu irov rpay/bce) is a usual form of emphatic 
asseveration. Abuse of an enemy often finds expression in a 
denunciation of his bread, just as of his faith (irian), religious 
law (vofjbo), the parents who begot him (to yoveio), or the saints 
who protect him (ra ayia). 

Women in kneading bread frequently draw the sign of the 
cross upon the dough, before they proceed to separate it into 
loaves. A cross is especially drawn on the first kneaded and 
baked loaf (irpcoroy^roopLt), which should not be given out of the 
house. It is also customary to make the sign of the cross with 
the knife on the bottom of a loaf or cake before carving it. 

The Mohammedans go even further in their veneration of 
this divine gift. They never cut bread with a knife, but ' break ' 
it, explaining that it is impious to wound bread with steel. 

Similar beliefs concerning this article of food prevail among 

1 J. G. Campbell, Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 
p. 236. 

2 Memoirs of the American Folk- Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 82. 

104 Macedonian Folklore 

the Slavs. 1 We have all heard of the ' bread and salt' offerings 
of hospitality which in Slavonic lands form a chief item in the 
reception of a guest, and which even figure in the enthrone- 
ment of a new sovereign. 

A kindred superstition was entertained by races even more 
remote than the Slavs, as for example, by the Mexicans, among 
whom " It was thought that if some grains of maize fell on the 
ground, he who saw them lying there was bound to lift them, 
wherein, if he failed, he harmed the maize, which plained itself 
of him to God, saying, ' Lord, punish this man, who saw me 
fallen and raised me not again ; punish him with famine, that 
he may learn not to hold me in dishonour \" a 

This Mexican prayer of the maize expresses with remarkable 
accuracy the Macedonian peasant's feelings on the subject, and 
the motive which dictates his treatment of bread. 


The vast majority of the omens observed by the Macedonian 
peasantry are common to many lands besides Macedonia, and it 
will be one of the present writer's aims to point out some of 
the most remarkable instances of similarity. Many of these 
omens can easily be traced to the principle of symbolism. The 
origin of others is not quite so plain. The people themselves 
cling to their belief as a matter of tradition handed down to 
them from early times, but they are unable to account for it. 

Omens are often taken from the people or animals one 
meets at the outset of a journey, or on going out in the 
morning. It is, for example, unlucky to encounter a priest on 
leaving one's house in the morning, or on setting forth on a 
journey. In that case it is best to postpone the expedition. 
It is worse if a priest is the first person you have seen on a 
Monday : everything will go wrong with you throughout the 
week. 3 The evil can only be counteracted by tying a knot in 

1 Ealston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 247. 

2 Sahagun, in A. Lang's Custom and Myth, p. 20. 

3 The same superstition exists in Russia, where it is explained by some as 
being due to the fact that a priest formerly had the right to fine his parishioners 
for non-attendance at Sunday mass. 

Divination 105 

one's handkerchief, and thus "binding the ill chance " {hiveis 
to Ka/co). 

A priest or monk is also considered of ill omen on board 
ship. The presence of such a passenger induces people to look 
out for foul weather. 1 This superstition is shared by Italian 
and English seamen : 

" Them two covies are parsons, I allow. If so, stand by for 
foul winds," says the little sailor in a popular sea-story, 2 and 
his remark would be as natural on the lips of a Mediterranean 
mariner as it is on those of the Channel sailor. 

A similar dread attaches to meeting a beardless man 
(cnravos), such men being regarded as particularly ill-omened. 
The evil character of the Beardless Man is illustrated by many 
folk-tales in which such an individual often plays the role of 
the villain. 3 

Red-haired people are, as among ourselves, considered ill- 
tempered, though not necessarily ill-omened. Still, * Red-hair ' 
(gavdrj Tpiya) is an expression to be avoided by all lovers of 
peace. On the other hand, those born with a white tuft among 
their hair are looked upon as lucky, the white tuft being 
interpreted as an omen of wealth. Those who have two 
crowns on the head (Bvb feopvcfral?) are destined to marry twice. 4 

At Liakkovikia a child born with two crowns will rob 
someone of his fortune {%evo fiio 6a (fray). 5 

Cripples and deformed persons are called ' marked ' (crrjpLetco- 
fievot) by God as a warning to others, and their society is 

As in England, Scotland, America and elsewhere, so in 
Macedonia it is unlucky to turn back after having gone out of 
the house, a superstition recalling the command given to the 'man 
of God' ; "nor turn again by the same way that thou earnest." 6 

1 Cp. the proverb Tawa 7rcu5£, 5ia/36\' ayy6vt, "A priest's child, the Devil's 
own grandchild." 

2 W. Clark Eussel's What Cheer! 

3 See, for example, The Bet ivith the Beardless, in Hahn's ' Contes Populaires 
Grecs,' ed. by J. Pio. Tr. by E. M. Greldart, Folk-Lore of Modern Greece, p. 60. 

4 Cp. Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 22. 

5 A. A. Tovalov, {t H /card to Hayyaiov Xc6pa,' p. 76. 

6 1 Kings xiii. 9. 

106 Macedonian Folklore 

A hare crossing one's path is regarded as peculiarly un- 
propitious, and the traveller, whether on foot or on horseback, 
must turn back. The same dread extends to rabbits and 
serpents. 1 The timidity of the first two animals and the pro- 
verbial malignity of the last may satisfactorily account for the 
significance of the omen. 2 

Some Albanian tribes consider it a sin to kill a hare, or 
even to touch one that is dead. One day a friend of mine shot 
a hare on the road and gave it to one of the two Albanian 
gendarmes, who escorted us, to hold. The gendarme remarked 
that his comrade would not touch the animal for the world. 
In order to try him, we took the hare back and asked his 
comrade to hold it while we remounted. But he refused in a 
determined tone : " Lay it down on the ground, sir, we in our 
village do not touch hares ! " 

The Albanians are not unique in their prejudice. The 
Namaqua of South Africa, for example, object to eating the 
hare and account for it by a curious myth, according to which 
the hare was once sent to Men by the Moon to give this 
message : " Like as I die and rise to life again, so you also shall 
die and rise to life again," but the Hare changed the message 
as follows : " Like as I die and do not rise again, so you shall 
also die and not rise to life again." 3 

A hen crowing like a cock foretells death, and it is im- 
mediately killed. We find the same superstition among the 
Southern Greeks, the modern Albanians 4 and the ancient 
Romans. 5 It is also preserved in an English folk-proverb : 

A whistling maid and a crowing hen 
Are hateful alike to God and men. 6 

1 Cp. J. G. Campbell, Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 
pp. 223, 254 ; Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 83 ; 
vii. p. 29. In Lesbos a rabbit is bad, but a serpent good to meet; see 
G. Georgeakis et Leon Pineau, Le Folk-Lore de Lesbos, p. 339. 

2 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 121. 8 lb. vol. i. p. 355. 
4 Hahn, Albanesische Studien. 5 Ter. Phormio, iv. 4, 27. 

6 W. H. D. Bouse, 'Folklore from the Southern Sporades,' in Folk-Lore, 
June 1899, p. 181 n. 2. For some other rhymes on ' whistling girls and crowing 
hens ' see Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 138 ; for the 
omen vol. vn. p. 32. 

Divination 107 

The crowing of a cock before midnight is a portent of 
death, or of a change in the weather. In England also the 
crowing of a cock at an unusual hour sometimes is interpreted 
as prognosticating a change in the weather, and sometimes it is 
construed into a worse omen, 1 whereas in Scotland it is regarded 
as an indication of coming news. 2 In America we find that 
" a rooster crowing at odd times of the night " signifies in some 
parts death ; in other parts, if it crows in the early hours of the 
night, hasty news. 3 

Death is also foreshadowed by the hooting of an owl on the 
roof of the house, or by the howling of a dog either in or near 
the house. The doleful nature of these sounds explains the 
meaning attached to them by the Macedonians as well as by 
other races, 4 while the unnaturalness of a crowing hen, or a 
cock crowing out of the normal time, obviously suggests that 
they forebode no good. The superstition about the howling 
dog is shared by the modern Albanians, as it was by the ancient 
Greeks : 

®e<TTv\l 9 ral icvve? aynv dva nrroXtv wpvovrai, 
a 0eo? ev rpio^eacn* to j(a\Keov ct>9 Ta^o? a%££. 5 

In exactly the same way the ancient Scandinavians held that 
"the dogs could see Hela the death-goddess move unseen by 
men." 6 Modern Jews and Mohammedans share this superstition, 
believing that the dogs howl at the sight of the Angel of Death. 
Beasts are credited by savages with the power of beholding 
spirits invisible to the human eye. We find traces of the* same 
belief in ancient literature. Besides the passage from Theocritus 
quoted above the reader will recall the apparition of Athene jn 
Homer 7 and similar incidents. The belief both in the dog's 

1 Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D' Urbervilles, ch. xxxiii. 

2 J. Gr. Campbell, Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 

3 Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol, vn. pp. 31, 32. 

4 lb. pp. 20, 27, 33. 

5 Theocr. Id. n. 30-31. 

6 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. n. p. 196. 
. xvi. 162. 

108 Macedonian Folklore 

superhuman capacity for seeing the invisible, and in the funereal 
significance of its howl still survives among our own peasants. 

A night-bird heard in the middle of the town portends a 
pest or some serious public calamity. A similar meaning 
attaches to the notes of a golden plover in the Highlands. 1 

The screeching of the eagle-owl (/llttov^o^) is especially 
considered as a portent of disaster, 2 and so is the cawing of a 
crow on the housetop or chimney. Women on hearing them 
are in the habit of exclaiming " Eat thine own head ! " (Na <f)a$ 
to /ce(j)a\c a). 

The ancient Greeks seem to have entertained a like fear of 
a crow " sitting and cawing " on the roof of the house. 3 Nor 
has the character of this bird improved with age. Ingratitude 
is the special vice with which the modern muse charges the 
crow : " Feed a crow that it may peck out your eyes " (Tpi<f>e 
icpovva vd ere ^aX' ra fidrca). 

If clothes are damaged by rats, it is taken as a hint that 
there is a dishonest servant in the house. 4 On the other hand, 
it is a good omen to see a weasel (vvfylraa). In connection 
with this animal it is interesting to note a superstition pre- 
valent at Melenik, and possibly in other districts of Macedonia, 
Women, if, after having washed their heads with water drawn 

1 J. G. Campbell, Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 
p. 256. 

2 This bird both in name and in character seems to be a descendant of the 
Latin strix bubo. Cp. the epithets ignavus, profanus, funereus, sinister, etc. 
applied to this bird by the Eoman writers. The same idea is embodied in 
Virgil's lines : 

Solaque culminibus ferali carmine bubo 
Saepe queri, et longas in fletum ducere voces. 

Aen. iv. 462—3. 
where the note of the bird is classed among the omens which terribili monitu 
horrificant the wretched Dido and drive her to drown despair in death. 

By the modern Greeks the name of the bird is also used as a contemptuous 
term, denoting a person of superlative simplicity, in the same sense as uto$> 
the homed owl, was used by the ancient Greeks, and gull by us. Needless to 
add that the fiirov<j>os has nothing but the name in common with the buphus, 
or egret, of Ornithology. 

3 Hes. W. and D. 746-7. 

4 In America " If rats gnaw your clothes, you will soon die," Memoirs of the 
American Folk-Lore Society, vol. vn. p. 30. 

Divination 109 

overnight, they happen to get a headache, set it down to the 
fact that in that water a weasel had its face reflected as in a 
looking-glass (yvaklarTiice), and they carefully refrain from 
mentioning the animal's name, lest it should cause the clothes 
in the wardrobes to decay. 

This superstition regarding the weasel is explained by a 
legend current in Southern Greece. The name vv<f>iTcra } or 
* little bride,' so the story runs, was given to the animal 
because it once was a bride, who for some forgotten reason was 
transformed into a dumb creature. Hence she is envious of 
brides and destroys their wedding dresses. 1 

A tortoise is regarded as lucky, and the killing of one as a 
sin. It is likewise sinful to turn a tortoise upside down, for 
that attitude is explained as an insult to the Deity (fjuovr^covei 
tov deo). 

Storks, both among the Christians and the Mohammedans, 
but especially among the latter, are looked upon with a 
favourable eye, and their arrival is hailed as a sign of peace. 
The Turks call them hadjis or pilgrims, interpreting their 
annual migration to the south as a pilgrimage to Mecca, and 
believe that the house on which they breed is safe from plague 
and fire alike. 

Wood pigeons and turtle doves are also birds of good omen, 
and flocks of them live unmolested in the enclosures of mosques. 
Sparrows are likewise respected by the Turks, who usually leave 
holes in the walls of their houses purposely for the birds to 
build their nests. A Greek writer tells a characteristic story 
of a Turkish grandee, Tchelebi Effendi by name, who in ex- 
treme old age was ordered by the doctors to eat nothing but 
rice boiled in broth made of sparrows. The pious Turk 

1 Kamporoglou, Hist. Ath. in Bennell Rodd, The Customs and Lore of 
Modern Greece, p. 163. This legend is also made to account for a wedding 
custom: *' Therefore, in the house where these (viz. the wedding dresses) are 
collected, sweetmeats and honey are put out to appease her, known as 'the 
necessary spoonfuls,' and a song is sung with much ceremony in which the 
weasel is invited to partake and spare the wedding array." In Macedonia also, 
as will be noted in due time, sweetmeats are mixed with the bridal trousseau, 
but no trace of the weasel is apparent either in the act or in the songs ac- 
companying it. 

110 Macedonian Folklore 

durst not follow this advice until the Imam of the mahallah, 
that is, the parish priest, gave him leave to do so on condition 
that for every sparrow he killed he should contribute a gold piece 
to the Imaret, or Poor-house. 1 

But of all animals the luckiest is the bat, and happy is he 
who keeps a bat's bone about his person. So much so, that 
people remarkable for their luck are figuratively said to carry 
such a talisman (e^ec to kokkcCKo rrjs vvxjepihas). 

An insect, at Liakkovikia called avvepylrr}?, which in the 
summer enters the rooms and buzzes round the heads of people, 
is regarded as bringing fever (avvepyto). One must spit three 
times at it, in order to avoid its evil influence (yia va /jltjv top 
avvepyiarj). 2 

A magpie chattering on the housetop predicts the coming 
of a friend or relative from abroad. Our Lancashire folk derive 
different omens from this bird. According to the popular 
rhyme, if you see 

One, is sorrow, 
Two, is mirth, 
Three, is wedding, 
Four, is birth. 3 

The arrival of a friend is also signified by a gad-fly alighting 
on one, and it is lucky to catch it and tie it up in the corner of 
your handkerchief. 

A cat washing its face foretells either the coming of a 
friend or approaching rain. 4 

The quarrels of cats at night are also regarded as a sign 
of rain. 

1 See ''H Kojvo-TavTivoiJTroXis.'' By Scarlatos D. Byzantios, Athens, 1851, 
vol. i. p. 91. 

2 A. A. Tovcrlou, *'H /card, to Iidyy atop Xdopa, 1 pp. 74, 86. 

For analogous beliefs held by the Greeks and Turks of Asia Minor see 
N. W. Thomas, 'Animal Superstitions,' in Folk-Lore, vol. xu. pp. 189 foil. In 
that article (p. 190) is mentioned an insect as crvyxaipiacrTrjs (?). Perhaps this is 
the <rvvepyiT7]s of Liakkovikia. 

3 In a Suffolk variant the last word is given as death, see The Book of Days, 
vol. i. p. 678. The same rhymes are applied to the crow in America, see 
Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. vn. p. 33. 

4 Cp. English superstitions regarding cats, B. Inwards, Weather Lore, 
pp. 151-2. 

Divination 111 

It is considered unlucky to kill a cat. 1 

An excessive lowing of the cattle, or chirping of the sparrows, 
portends much rain or a snowfall. 2 

Omens from words, so far as I know, are no longer in 
fashion among the Greeks. Yet the Macedonians firmly believe 
that to prophesy good or evil is to bring it about : 

KaXo/^eXera tc ep^erai, 
"Keep mentioning good, and good will come." 

JZafco/jLeXera k epyerai, 
"Keep mentioning evil, and evil will come." 

are two popular sayings. 


A ringing or tingling in the ears (fiotfrvv r avrta) in 
Macedonia, as in many English country districts, denotes that 
absent friends speak of you. In some places the tingling of 
the left ear is considered a sign that they speak well, the 
tingling of the right that they speak ill (ere Karaarepvovv). In 
other places it is the reverse. The ancient Greeks held the 
same superstition. 3 Among the Scotch Highlanders the tingling 
is explained as denoting news of a friend's death, 4 while the 
above interpretation is applied to burning ears, 5 as is also the 
case in parts of England and America. 6 

Choking (ttv iy era t) while eating or drinking is also a sign 

1 Cp. a similar superstition prevailing in America, Memoirs of the American 
Folk-Lore Society, vol. vn. p. 24. 

2 Cp. "If sparrows chirp a great deal, wet weather will ensue/' E. Inwards, 
Weather Lore, p. 168. On cattle lb. p. 153. 

3 Lucian, Dial. Meretr. ix. 40. Ed. J. F. Eeitz, vol. in. 

4 In America also "ringing in the ears is a sign of death," Memoirs of the 
American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 129. Cp. pp. 138 foil. 

5 J. G. Campbell, Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 
p. 258. 

6 Cp. " an' if the fust mate's ears didn't burn by reason of the things them 
two pore sufferers said about 'im, they ought to." W. W. Jacobs, Many 
Cargoes, p. 9. 

112 Macedonian Folklore 

that one is ill spoken of. 1 So is the hiccough (Xoguyyas). 
The person afflicted must try and guess who his detractor is. 
The hiccough will cease as soon as he has hit on the ight 
person. The point of this remedy seems to be to distract one's 
attention from the hiccough, when it is supposed that it will 
cease. Another ingenious, though more drastic, remedy is this : 
some one present suddenly says something calculated to shock 
or to surprise the sufferer, such as an accusation that the latter 
has been maligning him and the like. In this case sudden 
emotion acts as an antidote. But the simplest remedy is to sip 
water slowly. 2 

An itching in the palm of the hand foretells a money 
transaction. If it is the left hand, it means that one will 
receive money, if the right that he will have to pay (to Sefl 
hivei, to &pj3l iraipvei). But the right and left rule is some- 
times reversed. In Scotland " itching of the left hand denotes 
money ; of the right, that one is soon to meet a stranger with 
whom he will shake hands." 3 In America "if the right hand 
itches, you are going to get money ; if the left, you will shake 
hands with a friend/' 4 

An analogous superstition is held regarding the eyes. A 
twitching of the right or the left eye (irai^ei to /ndri) means 
that a friend or a foe will be seen, or that news good or bad 
is coming. The old Greeks also derived a similar presage 
from the " throbbing of the right eye." "AWercu ofydaXiios 
juiev 6 Se^09' r)pd <y ISrjaw avrdv ; observes the love-lorn 
shepherd in Theocritus, 5 and the observation seems to inspire 
him with hope. 6 

1 In America it means that " someone has told lies about you." Memoirs of 
the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 147. 

2 On similar principles are based the cures practised in America : " scare 
the one troubled with hiccoughs by some startling announcement or accusation, 
repeat long rhymes in one breath, take nine sips of water, etc." See Memoirs of 
the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. pp. 98, 99. 

3 J. G. Campbell, Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, p. 258. 

4 Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 135. 

5 Id. in., 37. 

6 On similar premonitions cp. W. H. D. Rouse, ' Folklore from the Southern 
Sporades,' in Folk-Lore, June, 1899, p. 181 ; G. Georgeakis et L£on Pineau, Le 
Folk-Lore de Lesbos, pp. 334-5. 

Divination 113 

The diversity of the significance attached to right and left 
respectively in different districts of Macedonia corresponds with 
the lifference which prevailed between the Greek and the 
Roman systems of augury in ancient times. The Greek augur, 
turning as he did to the North, regarded the bird's flight on the 
right, that is from the East, as of good omen. His Roman col- 
league, facing South, considered the flight on his left auspicious, 
and vice versa. It is not improbable that the modern dis- 
crepancy of views is due to a collision between Hellenic and 
Roman traditions. 

An itching in the nose, which in Scotland indicates the 
arrival of a letter, 1 and in America is explained as a sign that 
one is loved 2 or that visitors are coming, 3 to the Macedonian 
prophesies corporal chastisement. 

Sneezing is much too serious an act to be dealt with at the 
end of a chapter. 


In Macedonia the act of sneezing is interpreted in three 
different ways, and the formula of salutation varies according to 
the occasion. 

First, sneezing is regarded as a confirmation of what the 

person speaking has just said. In that case, he interrupts 

himself in order to address the sneezer as follows : " Health be 

-to thee, for (thou has proved that) I am speaking the truth !" 

(Yeta crov fcrj aXrjOeca \iyco). 

Secondly, it is taken as a sign that absent enemies are 
speaking ill of the sneezer, and the bystanders express the 
pious wish that those individuals, whoever they be, "may 
split" (va a/cdaovv). 4 

1 J. G. Campbell, Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 
p. 258. 

a Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 63. 

3 lb. pp. 92 ; 135 ; 140. 

4 Cp. W. H. D. Kouse, * Folklore from the Southern Sporades,' in Folk-Lore, 
June 1899, p. 181. The writer, however, seems to have misunderstood the 
meaning of the ejaculation uttered : weptSpoimos is a name given to the Devil 
and not "to the Deity." It means one 'roaming about' with evil intent — a very- 
apt definition of one who is in the habit of "going to and fro in the earth and 

A. F. 8 

114 Macedonian Folklore 

Thirdly, it is considered as an indication of health, especially 
if the sneezer is just recovering from an illness. The formula 
appropriate in this instance is, " Health to thee, and joy to 
thee ! " (Feed aov /cal %<xpa crov), to which some, facetiously 
inclined, add by way of a crowning happiness " — and may thy 
mother-in-law burst ! " {ical va a/cda rj ireOepd aov). 

On the evening of Cheese Sunday, as has been noticed 
already, a special significance is attributed to sneezing, or at all 
events extraordinary precautions are deemed necessary, and 
the sneezer must tear off a piece from the front of his shirt in 
order to counteract the evil. 

Among the Turks also both the belief and the salutation 
are in great vogue, as is shown by the humorous tale ascribed 
to Nasreddin Khodja, the famous fourteenth century wit and 
sage of Persia : 

"Nasreddin Khodja commanded his disciples, when he sneezed, 
to salute him by clapping their hands and crying out : ' Hair 
Ollah. Khodja/ that is ' Prosperity to thee, O Master ! ' Now it 
came to pass that on one of the days the bucket fell into the 
well, and Nasreddin bade his pupils climb down and pick it 
out. But they were afraid and refused to obey. So he stripped 
and requested them to bind him with the rope and let him 
gently down. Thus he descended, caught the bucket, and 
the boys were already pulling him up, when, just as he was 
drawing near the edge of the well, he chanced to sneeze. 
Whereupon they, mindful of the master's behest, let go the 
rope and, clapping their hands in high glee, cried out in 
chorus : ' Hair Ollah, Khodja ! ' Nasreddin was precipitated 
violently into the well, bruising himself sadly against the sides. 
When he was rescued at length, he laid him down upon the 
ground and groaning with pain remarked : * Well, boys, it was 
not your fault, but mine : too much honour is no good thing 
for man/ " 

of walking up and down in it. " The Greeks further use such expressions as 
"E^trye rbv (or Zva) ireplfipofio, " He has eaten a devil of a lot." Kdvei icpijo 
irepidpofio "It is devilish cold " etc. 

The epithet is employed in an uncomplimentary sense by Theognis : ^x^ at 'p w 
de yvvouKa ireplbpofMov, " I hate a lewd woman," 581. 

Divination 115 

An eighteenth century traveller records that in Guinea, 
" when a principal personage sneezed, all present fell on their 
knees, kissed the earth, clapped their hands, and wished him all 
happiness and prosperity" 1 — a form of salutation identical in 
almost every particular with the one prescribed by the worthy 

The superstition concerning sneezing is based on the notion 
that when sneezing an evil spirit is expelled from the body. 2 
This idea, utterly forgotten by the higher races among whom 
the salutation still exists as a survival, dimly and vaguely 
realized by the less civilized nations, is plainly shown among 
tribes in the lowest stage of intellectual development, such as 
the Zulus, the Polynesians, the aborigines of America and other 
peoples enumerated by Mr Tylor. 

The superstition, which is also known to the Hindus, the 
Hebrews, the Persians and other nations of Asia, is as ancient 
as it is wide-spread. Homer refers to it in the well-known 
line : 

ov% opdas, o fjLOi 1U09 eireirrape ttclgiv eireacnv ; 3 

" Dost thou not see that my son has sneezed in confirmation of all that 
I have said?" 

Xenophon, clever Athenian that he was, turned the super- 
stition to excellent account at a very critical time. While he 
was addressing the assembly of the Ten Thousand, somebody 
sneezed, and the men, hearing it, with one accord paid homage 
to the god ; and Xenophon proceeded : 

" Since, soldiers, while we were discussing means of escape, an omen 
from Zeus the Preserver has manifested itself " 4 

In addition to these authors, Aristotle, 5 Petronius Arbiter, 6 
and Pliny 7 bear witness to the prevalence of the superstition 
among the Greeks and the Romans. Zev awaov and ' Salve ' 

1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 99. 

2 lb. p. 97 ; A. Lang, Custom and Myth, p. 14. 

3 Odyss. xvii. 545. 

4 Xen. Anab. in. ii. 9. 

5 Probl. xxxviii. 7 ; epigram in Anthol. Graec. Brunck's ed., vol. in. p. 95. 

6 Sat. 98. 

7 xxvin. 5. These references are given in Tylor, ubi supra. 


116 Macedonian Folklore 

were the classical equivalents for the Macedonian forms of 
salutation already quoted. 

Through the middle ages the custom has lasted on into 
modern Europe, the German salutation ' Gott hilf/ corresponding 
to the English 'God bless you/ the Italian 'Felicita' and the 
various other forms of expression current among European 
nations. The English story of the fiddler and his wife, where 
his sneeze and her hearty 'God bless you!' brought about 
the removal of the fiddle case, is conceived in exactly the 
same spirit as the tale of Nasreddin Khodja. A propos of 
these salutations Mr Tylor remarks, "The lingering survivals 
of the quaint old formulas in modern Europe seem an un- 
conscious record of the time when the explanation of sneezing 
had not yet been given over to physiology, but was still in the 
' theological stage.' " * 

Prophets and Prophecies. 

Of seers of the Scottish Highland type I met with no traces 
in Macedonia — the southern atmosphere is far too clear for 
mysticism of that sort. Prophets however there are, and 
though I was not fortunate enough to make the acquaintance 
of any one of them in the flesh, I was favoured with several of 
their predictions and, of course, their fulfilment. Needless to 
say that prophets are popular only among the very lowest 
ranks of the peasantry. Those who make any pretence to 
education answer one's questions with a compassionate shrug of 
the shoulders and a pantomimic tapping on the forehead, which 
expresses more eloquently than any speech what they think 
about the enquirers mental condition. If they are sociably 
inclined, they will even hurl at him the aphorism : " All 
prophets after Christ are asses ! " (iras irpo(\>rjTrj<; fierd Xpi<rr6v 

The meaner sort, however, are not so critical, or so sceptical. 
Many a farmer possesses and often thumbs a copy of the old 
collection of prophecies which goes under the name of Agathan- 
gelus (' AyaBwyyeXcx;), a gentleman who holds in the estima- 
tion of the Macedonian peasant the same high place which 

i 16. p. 104. 

Divination 117 

some three and a half centuries ago was filled by Michael 
Nostradamus in the eyes of Westerners of rank. There is one 
great difference, however, between the French mystic and his 
Greek counterpart. The latter never lowers the prestige of his 
calling by attempting to prophesy whether " a black pig or a 
white pig is to be served up at dinner." 1 Agathangelus 
attempts higher flights. He talks of 'the blond race' (to 
%av6bv <yivo<;) from the North driving * the sons of Hagar ' out 
of Europe, and generally speaking deals with the rise and fall 
of empires and with questions of high diplomacy, entirely 
ignoring matters domestic. 

At Nigrita I also heard of several prophetic utterances 
attributed to a holy hermit of the name of Makarios who lived 
and fasted, prayed and prophesied, in the early days of the 
nineteenth century. He did not specialize in politics, as will 
appear from the following examples of his art : 

" Oeconomos, the rich and wicked steward who uses his 
trust to indulge himself and who turns the poor from his door, 
shall be lifted up by a cloud and shall be carried off to the 
clouds." The gentleman in question was actually carried off 
to the high mountain -peaks (the clouds) by a large band (a 
cloud) of Albanians, who wrecked his farm and ruined its 
master by exacting an immense ransom. 

" On the site of his big house a vineyard shall bloom, and 
sheep shall graze where his hearth stands." This too has come 
to pass. 

The following is an oracle of high import, couched in 
befittingly obscure language: 

"The Agha shall not depart, until people have begun to eat grass. 
Then he shall go, but as poor as they." 

A more pithy description of the Turkish hand-to-mouth 
administration which, like Lamb's Chinaman, sets fire to the 
house in order to roast the pig, could not easily be found. 
The natives of Nigrita believe that this prophecy is destined 
to come true as the rest of Makarios's sayings have done. 

1 Garencieres's Life of Nostradamus, prefixed to the English edition of the 
Prophecies, 1672, in The Book of Days, vol. n. p. 13. 



Symbolism, as we have already seen, pervades modern 
Greek life through all its branches. There is hardly a popular 
festival or ceremony which does not exhibit, in a more or less 
pronounced degree, this tendency to symbolic representation and 
interpretation. The same spirit can be discerned in the religious 
rites of the Eastern Church : every part of the sacred building 
to the minutest architectural detail ; every article of use or 
ornament ; every vessel or vestment employed in divine service 
contains a meaning, often too occult for the ordinary layman's 
comprehension, but sometimes so simple as to suggest itself to 
the dullest intelligence. In like manner, birth, marriage, and 
funeral are all attended by observances which to the minds of 
the initiated oonvey ideas concealed from the profane vulgar. 
In many cases, however, the underlying signification is com- 
pletely lost, and can only be surmised by a laborious comparison 
of similar observances in countries where the meaning is still 
apparent. To this category belong several rites relating to 
agricultural life. Some of them are good examples of sym- 
pathetic or symbolic magic based on the principle that like 
produces like. 

In time of drought the peasants have recourse to a curious 
ceremony, which in many of its details resembles the rites 
enacted in savage lands for the purpose of making rain. 1 A 
poor orphan boy is adorned with ferns and flowers, and, accom- 
panied by other boys of about the same age, parades the streets, 
while women shower water and money upon him from the 

1 On this wide-spread custom see Mr Frazer's exhaustive discourse in The 
Golden Bough, vol. i. pp. 81 foil. 

Symbolism 119 

windows. The boys, as they march along, sing a kind of prayer 
to the powers on high, beginning with the words : 

Bat, /3dl> NrovvrovXe, 
K$ /uvcTLpfca, tcj) yfsivLTO-fca, 
Ba£, j8a£, etc. 

"Hail, hail, Dudute, 
(Bring us) both maize and wheat, 
Hail, hail, etc." 

Dudule is the name given to the boy clothed in verdure. 
This is the form of the ceremony prevailing at Melenik, a 
Greek town surrounded by a Bulgarian- speaking rural popula- 
tion, whence the Bulgarian terms used in the song. In other 
districts of Macedonia, where the same custom exists, the words 
are Greek. At Shatista, for instance, in the south-west, the 
song generally sung on these occasions runs as follows : 

liepirepovva irepTrarel 
Krj tov deo rrreptfcaXel' 
" ©e fjtov, /3/0€^e fica /3/oo^, 
M.ia {ipo^ fiaaiXtfci], 
r 0<x' dcrrd^va 9 ra ^copd^ia, 
Toaa fcovraovpa \ r dfjuireXia^ 
"Perperuna perambulates 
And to God prays : 
'My God, send a rain, 
A right royal rain, 

That as many (as are the) ears of corn in the fields, 
So many stems (may spring) on the vines,' 

In this alliterative composition the name of the principal 
performer (Uepirepovpa) is the only Slav word, indicating 
perhaps the origin of the custom. At Kataphygi, again, the 
Slav name, being unintelligible, has been corrupted into 
Piperia, " Pepper-tree." 

Unrepid, irinrepid SpoaoXoyid, etc. 
"Piperia, dew-collectiug piperia" etc. 1 

1 For similar songs, collected in other parts of Greece, see Passow, Nos. 
311 — 313. In one of them the name is more correctly given as Uepirepid. 

120 Macedonian Folklore 

Both the names given above, as well as the custom which 
they designate, are to be met with in many Slavonic lands. In 
Servia the rite is performed in a manner that differs from the 
foregoing description only in one point : the part played by the 
boy among the Macedonians is there assigned to a girl who, 
clad in nothing but leaves and flowers, is conducted through 
the village, accompanied by other girls singing "Dodola Songs." 
" The people believe that by this means there will be extorted 
from the 'heavenly women' — the clouds — the rain for which 
thirsts the earth, as represented by the green-clad maiden 
Dodola." 1 The same custom, with slight variations, is kept 
up in Dalmatia, where the chief performer is called Prpats, 
and his companions Prporushe, and in Bulgaria, where we 
again find a maiden undertaking the leading rdle and called 
Preperuga — the original of the second name by which the 
rite is known among the Greeks. The Wallachs also have 
turned the same name into Papeluga, and the custom among 
them is in all essentials identical with the Slav and the Greek. 2 

The ceremony, now restricted within the limits of these 
countries, once prevailed in many parts of Germany, and Jacob 
Grimm has tried to identify the Dodola and Purpirouna with 
the Bavarian Wasservogel, and the Austrian Pfingstkonig, who, 
according to him, are connected with the ancient rain-preserving 
rites. 3 

Of the magical ceremonies for making sunshine 4 there is 
no vestige in Macedonia. But a relic of some old religious 
observance still survives in a sportive custom. The children at 

1 Balston, Songs of the Russian People, pp. 227 foil. 

2 The Vienna correspondent of the Standard (Aug. 18, 1902) reports a ghastly 
application of the principle underlying this picturesque custom from the district 
of Kogatza in Bosnia : " A peasant living in a village called Hrenovicza com- 
mitted suicide by hanging himself. Shortly afterwards a severe drought set in, 
which threatened to destroy the crops. The peasants held a council, and, 
connecting the drought with the man's suicide, resolved to open the grave and 
pour water on the corpse, in order that this might hring the longed-for rain. 
Their intentions were carried out, and the grave was then filled again, after 
prayer had been offered. The rain, however, did not come, and the villagers 
who had taken part in this curious rite have been arrested by the gendarmes." 

8 Balston, ubi supra. 

4 J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. i. p. 115. 

Symbolism 121 

Melenik are in the habit of offering up a prayer to the Sun, 
that he may come out and ripen the grapes : 

"E\a, irdirirov "HXlov, 1 

Na ere Scoaovfie kokkivcl irohrj fiara, 

Na /cXa)Tcra? ra fcXrffjbara! 

"Come, Grandfather Sun, 
That we may give thee red boots, 
Wherewith thou mayest kick at the vines ! " 

There is in this form of address (" Grandfather Sun ") an 
unmistakable and undisguised ring of paganism, reminding one 
of the mythological idea of parentage still entertained by 
savages : " Yonder sun is my father ! " exclaimed the Shawnee 
chief, proudly pointing to the luminary, and the boast was 
more than an empty rhetorical figure to him. 2 

With the promised gift of "red boots" may be compared 
similar offers in Russian folk-tales. The elder brothers on 
going away tell Emilian the fool : " Obey our wives... and we'll 
buy you red boots, and a red caftan, and a red shirt." When 
the king sends for him, the messengers say : " Go to the king. 
He will give you red boots, and a red caftan, and a red shirt." 3 

Again, when it snows for the first time in the year, the 
boys hail the event with some rhymes which sound like un- 
mitigated nonsense, though they may, and most likely do, 
contain allusions impossible to verify at this time of day. The 
following is a fragment from Melenik : 

To fidp /map o aairpi^ei, 
H fydra fAayetpevei, 
f O 7rozm/ea? ^opevety etc. 

"It snows, it snows, 
And white the flagstone grows, 
Now cooks the cat, 
And romps the rat, etc." 

1 Cp. the custom of children in classical times to address the sun "E£ex'> 
w <pi\' 7J\ie, 'Come out, dear Sun,' "when the god was overrun by a cloud," 
Pollux ix. 123. 

2 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. I. p. 327. 

3 Balston, Russian Folk-Tales, pp. 263—6. 

122 Macedonian Folklore 

To return to the subject of symbolism. When the farmers 
have finished digging in the fields, they throw their spades 
up into the air and, catching them again, exclaim : " May the 
crop grow as high, as the spade has goner' 1 

The first fruit of a tree must not be eaten by a barren 
woman, but by one who has many children. The sympathetic 
influence of the woman's fecundity is too obvious to need 
explanation. An analogous belief prevails among the Bavarian 
and Austrian peasants, " who think that if you give the first 
fruit of a tree to a woman with child to eat, the tree will bring 
forth abundantly next year." 2 

When a mother has done plaiting her daughter's braids 
she swings them thrice upwards saying : 

Yldvov to icopLTaL, kcltov ra fiaWcd: 3 
"May the maid grow up, and her hair long below." 

On a child's name-day, which in the East is observed with 
as much ceremony as the birthday is in the West of Europe, 
it is the custom to pull the child's ear slightly upwards, wishing 
that the child " may live and grow tall " (va Tpav€\jry). Some 
peasants entertain the ungallant notion that girls need no such 
inducement to grow : " The Devil himself makes them grow by 
pulling them up by the nose, sir," an old farmer at Pro vista 
assured me. 

A jug of water is emptied upon the ground after a departing 
guest, that he may speed well on his journey, " As the water's 
course is smooth and easy so may the traveller's path be" 
(o7ro)9 Traei to vepo yXrfy o pa €Tac va irarj /cr) 6 adpoairo^). 

1 This is undoubtedly a survival of what some authorities call imitative 
magic. For parallels — some of them extremely close — to this custom, see 
J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. i. pp. 36—37. 

2 lb. p. 38. 

3 A. A. TovcrLov, *'H Kara rb Xldyyaiov Xtopa,' p. 76. 



The rites and observances which precede and accompany 
the young Macedonian's entry into the world afford much that 
is of interest to the folk-lorist. When the first symptoms of his 
approach have manifested themselves, great care is taken to 
conceal the fact from the neighbours. Otherwise it is feared 
that the confinement will be attended by much suffering, due 
to the evil influence of ill-wishers or to the evil eye. For the 
same reason the midwife is summoned in all secrecy and under 
a false pretence. During travail the water of which the patient 
drinks is medicated with a plant locally known as ' The Holy 
Virgin's Hand ' (1-779 Uavayias to %€/m), that is, some sprigs of 
it are thrown into the jug. 

This is apparently one of the many plants endowed by 
popular superstition with magic virtues against ill. Such 
plants and herbs have been known in all lands and at all 
periods of the world's history. 1 Perhaps the most familiar of 
them are those in use among the Celts, such as the Mothan, 
or trailing pearlwort, and the Achlasan Challumchille, or St 
John's wort. The former protected its possessor against fire 
and the attacks of fairies ; the latter warded off fevers. 2 The 
Macedonian equivalent is considered a powerful safeguard 
against both dangers. 

As soon as the child is born, the servants or the boys of the 
family hasten round to the houses of relatives and friends to 

1 See A. Lang's essay on * Moly and Mandragora,' in Custom and Myth, 
pp. 143 — 155. 

2 J. G. Campbell, Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 
p. 49 ; Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. vn. pp. 100 foil. 

124 Macedonian Folklore 

announce the glad event and receive ' The reward of congratu- 
lation' {ra (rxaptjKia). 1 The midwife then proceeds to hang 
a clove of garlic and a gold ring or a gold coin on the mother's 
hair, — ornaments which she wears till her purification, — as well 
as on the new-born baby, in order to avert the evil eye. 
A skein of red yarn (yvifia) is also attached to the bedroom 
door, as a symbol that the evil is " bound/' that is rendered 
helpless. This operation is described at Melenik as "binding the 
Armenos " (hevovv rrjv "Ap/juevov), a word of obscure meaning, but 
evidently used in a personal sense, though who this lady is the 
people, so far as I could discover, have not the faintest idea. 
" We do this that the patient may not suffer from the Armenos " 
(yea va fjbrjp apfieviaaOf) rj Xe^ovaa). This was their answer to 
my queries. An identical practice with similar intent prevailed 
once in the Highlands of Scotland. 2 

On the same day comes the priest, and with the stole round 
his neck reads a special prayer over a bowl of water (Bta^d^eo 
to vepo), with which the patient is sprinkled every evening 
during her confinement. 

The members of the family in which there is a woman in 
child-bed make a point of retiring home before nightfall, or else 
they are fumigated. Contrariwise, no visitor is allowed to 
remain in the house after dark. If he is obliged to do so, he 
throws upon the mother and the infant a shred of his raiment, 
wishing them a peaceful night. 3 

During a whole fortnight the patient is never for a single 
moment left alone, but day and night is watched either by the 
midwife or by some friends, lest she should apfievLaad?}, and no 
light besides the one in the room is allowed to be brought in. 
In the same way among the Celts " the first care was not to 
leave a woman alone during her confinement. A houseful of 
women gathered and watched for three days, in some places 
for eight." 4 

All these precautions appear to have one object in view, 

1 Cp. the word evptrrjiaa, rci, " the reward for a thing found." 

2 J. G-. Campbell, ubi supra, p. 37. 

3 A. A. Tovaiov, ''H Kara rb ILdyyaiov Xcfy>a,' p. 75. 

4 J. (x. Campbell, ubi supra, p. 36. 

Birth 125 

namely, to prevent the Nereids (NepdiSes) from carrying off the 
infant, or hurting its mother. In this respect the modern Greek 
nymphs correspond exactly to the mischievous fairies of the 
north. Like the latter they are very fond either of abducting 
new-born children or substituting their own offspring in their 
stead. 1 The similarity of attributes is all the more striking 
as it can hardly be accounted for by the borrowing theory. 
Nor is it easier to explain it as being the result of independent 

The same tendency towards child-abduction " seems to some 
extent to have been attributed to the Nymphs in old times, for 
in many epitaphs on children that died at an early age, they are 
spoken of as having been carried off by Nymphs." 2 Hesychius 
also describes YeXXco as "a female demon, said by the women to 
be in the habit of carrying off new-born babes." 3 

For forty days friends and relatives bring to the woman 
in child -bed pancakes (XaXajKLTcus) and sweetmeats. During 
the first three nights a small table covered with a cloth is 
placed under the lamp which burns in front of the icon of the 
Panaghia. Upon this table is laid bread, salt, and pieces of 
money. On the third day a maid whose parents are both 
alive makes a honey cake, which in the evening is set upon 
the small table close to the baby's head. Upon the table is 
likewise placed a mirror ; and some gold or silver pieces or 
jewels are laid upon it or under the baby's pillow. These 
offerings are intended for the Fates (Mo^at?) who are expected 
to come during the night and bestow on the infant its destiny 
in life (fiocpcovovv or poipd^ovv). The sweet cake is meant to 
propitiate or conciliate the Goddesses, while the mirror stands 
as a symbol of beauty, and the money and jewels suggest 
wealth. For the same reason a light is left burning all night 
to enable the Fates to find their way to the cradle. In the 
morning the midwife shares with the friends and relatives the 

1 Cp. Pashley, Crete, n. p. 216, in Tozer, Researches in the Highlands of 
Turkey, vol. n. p. 314. 

2 Preller, Griechische Mythologie, i. p. 565 note, in Tozer, ubi supra. 

3 The name of this demon has been derived by some from the verb peheiv in 
analogy -with the Teutonic Frau Holda. 

126 Macedonian Folklore 

cake, which is eaten on the spot, not allowing one crumb to 
get out of the room, lest it should fall into the hands of 
enemies who could work a spell upon it. Similarly "the 
German peasant, during the days between his child's birth and 
baptism, objects to lend anything out of the house, lest witch- 
craft should be worked through it on the yet unchristened 
baby," 1 — an idea of which we find many illustrations in 

The Three Fates. 

The belief in the Fates and their visit is one of the most 
deeply-rooted and most widely-spread superstitions that have 
survived from ancient times. As in antiquity so at this day 
the Moirais are represented as three in number. Their indi- 
vidual names have been forgotten, but they are still described 
as carrying a spindle and yarn wherewith is spun the infant's 
destiny. This idea is graphically set forth in the following 
popular distich : 

C H Molpa 7rov ae fjuoipave dSpd^r €1% acrrjfievio, 
Kal vrjfxa diro fidXa/jua tcaX /xotpave /cat aeva, 

"The Fate who fated thee carried a silver spindle 
And thread of gold, wherewith she fated thee." 

People remarkable for their luck (/caXo/jLOLpos) are believed 
to have received the Fate's benediction from her right hand : 

f H Molpd flOV fl€ /3d<f>TLCT€ fl€ TO Se^L T^? %€/H, 

"My Fate has blessed me with her right hand," 

says a folk song. 

The reverse (fca/c6/j,otpo<;) is expressed by the following : 

*H Moipd fjbov fie ftdcjiTicre fie to %epftL t?;<? %e/n, 
"My Fate has blessed me with her left hand." 

It is interesting that in these phrases the blessing of the 
Fates should be described as "baptism." We probably have 
here a popular confusion between Christian and Pagan belief 
and practice, instances of which abound at every turn. 

1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. I. p. 116. 

Birth 127 

The following complaint, which I heard at Melenik, gives 
utterance to the same superstition : 

yiolpa fiov tcavfjuevr], 
Kav/jt€P7) M.otpa ! 
Ae* fi€ fJLoipaves /ca\d, 
Ae' /jl€ lAoipaves k ifieva 
*2<av rod fcocr/jbov ra iracSta ! 

"Wretched Fate mine, 
My wretched Fate ! 
Thou didst not fate me well, 
Thou didst not fate me 
Like other men's children." 

Such sentiments are plentiful both in verse and in prose. 
A popular proverb declares that " Where the poor man is, there 
is his Fate too " (^Ottov 6 cfyrco^b^ k r) Moipa rov) — so true it 
is that popular sayings, in some cases at all events, are " chips 
of mythology." 1 

The belief in the three Fates is also very strong among the 
Wallachs, but they seem to have borrowed it from the Greeks. 
At any rate the name given to the goddesses by them (Mire) 
is thoroughly Greek. The Albanians believe in the Fates 
under the name of Fati, which is derived directly from the 
Italian. Hahn, however, in an Albanian tale introduces them 
by the Greek designation Moeren. 2 

The Fates of the ancient Greeks, and consequently their 
modern representatives also, have been indentified with the 
three Scandinavian Norm, whose names are Urdhr, Verdhandi, 
and Skuld — Was, Is, and Shall-be. This division of time 
between them corresponds with the tasks allotted to the three 
ancient Fates; Lachesis sings the past, Klotho the present, 
and Atropos the future. 3 

The following tales illustrate the impossibility of escaping 

1 For the belief in the Fates and the birth ceremonies observed in various 
parts of Southern Greece see Bernhard Schmidt, Das Volkslebe,n der Neugriechen; 
Bennell Eodd, The Customs and Lore of Modern Greece, ch. iv. ; G-. Georgeakis 
et L4on Pineau, Le Folk-Lore de Lesbos, p. 330. 

2 Griechische und Albanesische Marchen, No. 103. 

3 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 352 and authorities referred to there. 

128 Macedonian Folklore 

from the decrees of the Fates — the stern, inexorable daughters 
of dread Necessity. 

/. The Youth and the Fates. 
(From Sochos.) 

A youth once, while travelling, stopped at a peasant's 
cottage to spend the night. He was received hospitably and 
laid himself down to sleep in a corner of the common bed-room, 
in which his host and hostess also slept. The woman had had a 
female child two days before. As the youth lay on his mattress 
awake, he perceived Fate, Fortune, and Death (Molpa, Tv^r), 
Xdpo?) stalk into the room in order to allot to the baby her 
portion in life. They glanced at the stranger and then walked 
out. The youth heard them holding a consultation amongst 
themselves outside the door. At last Fate raised her eyes to 
the bright star-lit sky and said : " The little maid shall become 
the strange youth's wife." 

Our traveller was not at all pleased with this off-hand 
way of disposing of him. For he was an ambitious youth, 
and the prospect of marrying a poor peasant's daughter 
accorded ill with his views. So, in order to avoid the fulfilment 
of the Fatal decree, he got up softly, stole to the baby's cradle 
and taking her in his arms crept out of the cottage. On the way 
he threw her into a thorny hedge {irakovicaSa) and pursued his 
journey, fondly confident that he had baffled Fate. 

But next morning the peasant and his wife went in quest 
of their offspring. They found and rescued her unscathed, save 
for a scratch across the breast, the mark of which remained. 

Years went by, and the stranger, now grown into a 
prosperous man, chanced to journey that way again. Having 
long forgotten the episode, he put up at an inn opposite the 
peasant's cottage. A fair damsel appeared at the window, and 
he was so smitten by her beauty that he forthwith stepped 
across the road and asked her in marriage from her parents. 
It was only after the wedding that the sight of the scar led 
to the discovery that she was the infant he had sought to 

Birth 129 

In this tale Fate figures in the company of Fortune and 
Death. With the former she is very often confused. But 
TvXV is a l so sometimes conceived of as a personal deity, cor- 
responding to the Servian Sretya, and to the Turkish Bakht — a 
kind of guardian angel or spirit. 

II. The story of Naidis the Foundling 1 . 
(From Salonica.) 

Once upon a time there was a very wealthy man. He had 
houses, furniture, sheep, goats, and is there anything he had 
not ? He had of all that is good in the world ; in his house 
even the cocks laid eggs, as the saying goes. But, in spite of 
all this wealth, he was a miser, and mean as a Tzingan. 

This man chanced to visit a big city, say Salonica ; but he 
refrained from putting up at an inn, lest he should spend 
money. Nor would he go to some great mans palace, lest he 
should incur an obligation. So he stopped at a poor mans 
cottage. The house was only one big room and the hall, and 
they put him up in a corner of the room — his servant remained 
in the yard with the horses. Now, the poor mans wife had 
been delivered of a boy which was three days old when this 
wealthy man arrived. 

So they laid them down to sleep in the evening, the guest 
in one corner of the room and the woman in child-bed with her 
husband in the other. These went to sleep at once and slept 
soundly, for the poor have no cares. The wealthy man, however, 
sleep would not seize on him, but he turned now on this side, 
now on the other, thinking and calculating his wealth. While 
he was thinking, all of a sudden he sees the door thrown open, 
and in came three women clad in white. One of them was 
taller and more beautiful than the others. They were the 
three Fates, who allot the child's destiny on the third day 
after birth. 

So, as we said before, they entered the room and stood 
where the little one lay sleeping. The greatest of the Fates 
touched him with her finger and said : 

1 For the original Greek see Appendix I. 
A. F. 9 

130 Macedonian Folklore 

" What kind of destiny shall we allot him ? " 

Answered the others : 

" Let us make him be the heir to the wealthy man who is 
lying in yon corner." 

" Agreed," said the others. 

Thus they decreed and vanished. 

The wealthy man heard these words and was afraid, and 
could not close an eye from fear. He rose and began to stroll 
up and down in the room till daybreak. When God brought 
the day, and the poor man rose from bed, then the stranger said 
to him : 

" I am going home to-day. Children of my own I have 
none. If you will give me your baby, my wife and I will bring 
it up just as if it were our own flesh and blood. You are young 
and, please God, you may have more." 

Thereupon the poor man called to his wife to see what she 
had to say, and she at first would not consent, for where is the 
mother who will part with her child ? but at length, lest they 
should spoil the child's chance, she answered, " Very well," and 
consented to give it away, although she loved it as a mother 
should. She suckled it well till it had enough milk, then 
she dressed it in the best clothes she had and kissed it cross- 
wise on the forehead. So the wealthy man took the child, 
saddled his horse, was bidden "God speed" and went away 
with his servant. 

When they got outside the city and reached a desert place 
in the midst of the standing corn — it was summer — he reined 
in his mare and said to the servant : 

" Take this babe and slay it with a stone." 

The servant at first would not do it, for he was a God-fearing 
man ; but finally, will he nill he, he obeyed his master and took 
up the baby. However, instead of striking the child he struck 
the earth with the stone, and his master thought that he had 
struck the child. Then he suddenly made as though he saw 
someone from afar, ran to his horse, pretending to be frightened, 
and made off as speedily as he could. And so the little one 
remained sleeping among the ears of corn. 

Let us now leave the wealthy man and take up the child. 

Birth 131 

Those fields belonged to a rich farmer who had no children of 
his own, and both his wife and he ever prayed to God that He 
might give them one. They also wished to adopt a child in 
the hope that God might take pity on them. On that evening 
this rich man happened to be strolling in the fields and heard 
the child crying. He stopped short and said to himself: 

" What can this be ? it is not a jackal, nor is it a dog. Let 
me go and see." 

He walked towards the voice and by and by found the little 
one, and he wondered. And seeing the child so pretty and clean 
and plump, he took a fancy to it and lifted it up in his arms 
and carried it to his wife. 

" See what I have found in the fields, wife," said he. " We 
wished for a child and behold ! a child God has sent us." 

His wife would not believe him. 

" Fie upon thee, who knows who is the child's mother ? But, 
let it be. I do not mind. Let us keep it." 

They kept it and engaged a nurse to suckle it, and when it 
grew up they sent it to school. And the boy, being of a kindly 
nature, made progress and was very fond of them, and they in 
their turn were fond of him, and they called him Naidis, which 
is, as we might say, Foundling. 

Now to come to the wealthy man. Time went by, and 
Naidis became sixteen or seventeen years old. Then, one day 
lo and behold ! that wicked wealthy man, who had tried to 
destroy Naidis, chanced to come and put up in the very house 
where he lived, and he heard the people call the boy Naidis, 
and he was surprised at the name. He asks his hostess : 

" Tell me, madam, wherefore do you call him so ? " 

" We gave him that name because, to tell the truth, he is not 
our own son. My husband found him some seventeen years since 
in the fields amidst the standing crop. We had no children, so 
we brought him up and love him as our own, and he loves us 
very much indeed." 

The wealthy man on hearing this was grieved at heart, for 
he understood that it was the child which he had ordered his 
servant to kill. Now, what was he to do ? He thinks it over 
and over again. At length an idea occurred to him. He turned 


132 Macedonian Folklore 

and said that he had a letter to send home and that he wanted 
a trusty man to carry it. 

" Why, we will send Naidis," they answered. They prepared 
a cake and other food for Na'idis, and he saddled his horse in 
order to go. The wealthy man gave him a letter for his wife, in 
which he told her to send the bearer up to the mountain 
pastures where his flocks were grazing, and to bid the shepherds 
cut him in pieces and fling him into a well. 

Na'idis took the letter without any suspicion, mounted his 
horse, and set out. But before he set out his mother advised 
him to take care and not drink water when tired; then she 
kissed him and bade him Good-bye. 

In the way which he was going he reached a fountain under 
a tree, and he alighted in order to rest awhile and then drink, 
according to his mothers advice ; for he was very thirsty. As 
he was sitting there under the shadow of the tree, an old man 
with a long white beard passed by and said to the boy : 

" Whither, in good time, my son ? " 

" A good time to thee, 1 grandfather, I am going to Such- 
and-such a place with a letter for So-and-so." 

"Give me that letter that I may see it; for methinks I know 
the man." 

The boy gave him the letter, and the old man passed his 
hand over it, and then returned it and went his way. 

To cut a long tale short, Naidis arrived at the w r ealthy man's 
house towards evening. As he was dismounting he looked up 
and saw a maid fair as the moon standing at the window. In 
the twinkling of an eye he became enamoured of her. She 
was the wealthy man's daughter ; for he had lied when he said 
that he had no children : he had a daughter and a son. 

1 "Qpa Ka\r) ! This is the usual salutation of travellers meeting on the road. 
Sometimes it is amplified into rhyme : 

"Q,pa teak'?} crov, fmna jjlov, 

Kt) dyipas 's rd iravui crov, 

K^ gva irovXl wero^fxevo 

Na [xrjv (3pe0rj jxirpoa-rd <rov\ 
"A good time to thee, my eyes. May thy sails be filled with wind, and may 
not one bird impede thy course." This wish is specially meant for sailors, but 
it is also humorously offered to sportsmen. 

Birth 133 

Naidis went into the house, and the wealthy mans wife 
received him becomingly, " Welcome," " Well met." He de- 
livered to her the letter, and she read it, and there was written 
in it : 

"Take this youth and our daughter, summon a priest and 
wed them straightway. I am coming home eight days hence, 
and I must find the thing done." 

Having read the letter, the wife did as her husband bade 
her. She called in a priest and without delay had them wedded. 
They celebrated their wedding with much jollity and music till 

Eight days after the wealthy man returned, and, as he 
alighted at the gate, he lifted up his eyes and what does he see 
but his own daughter standing by the side of Naidis at the 
balcony. Then he was seized with giddiness — like a fit of 
apoplexy — and fell down upon the ground. They ran and sum- 
moned the doctors, and after a deal of trouble they managed to 
bring him to. 

" What is amiss with thee ? " asks his wife. 

" Oh nothing. I was wearied of the journey, and the sun 
struck me on the head," he answered^ " But why hast thou not 
done as I bade thee in my letter ? " 

" I certainly have. Here is thy letter. Look and see what 
thou wrotest." 

He takes the letter and reads it. He thought that he was 
dreaming. He rubbed his eyes again and again, but could not 
make out how it had all happened ; for it was his own writing. 
Then he says : 

"Very well, it matters not. To-morrow thou must call 
Naidis at dawn and send him up to the flocks with a letter 
which I will give thee." 

And he sat and wrote to the shepherds as before. 

Next morning, very early, his wife got up and went to call 
Naidis. But when she entered into the room and saw him 
sleeping sweetly in her daughter's arms, she was sorry to wake 
him, and let him sleep on for another hour. Instead, she went 
to her own son and said : 

" Art thou asleep, my boy ? " 

134 Macedonian Folklore 

" No, mother." 

"Get up, mount thy horse and take this letter to the 
shepherds who tend the flocks." 

The boy got up, mounted his horse, took the letter and 
set out. 

After a while her husband also got up and asked her : 

" Hast thou sent him ? " 

" I was loth to wake Naidis," she answered, " but be easy 
in thy mind, my husband, thy letter I despatched safely by our 
own son." 

" What hast thou done, woman ! " he cried, and in the 
twinkling of an eye he runs out like one possessed to overtake 
his son. 

His wife thought that he was again taken ill as the day 
before and ran after him. When he reached the uplands he 
found that the shepherds had slain his son and thrown him 
into a well. Driven by grief and remorse he flings himself into 
the well and perishes. His wife on seeing her husband fall 
into the well, lost her senses and threw herself into it, too, and 
died. So Naidis remained heir. — This is not a fairy tale. It 
is a fact and shows that his Fate no one can escape. 1 


Eight or ten days after birth — generally on a Sunday — takes 
place the baptism (ra /3acf>TLorca). The kinsfolk (to <rv<yy€vo\6yi,), 
having gathered together in the parents' house, are there joined 

1 A very close parallel to this story is found in Albanian, see "L'enfant 
vendu ou la Destined, " No. 13 in Contes Albanais, par Auguste Dozon, Paris, 

Hahn (Griechische und Albanesische Marchen, No. 20) gives a story em- 
bodying the same idea, only much shorter, and refers for a parallel to Grimm, 
No. 29. 

Classical literature supplies several anecdotes pointing the moral of the force 
of destiny, all too familiar to be even mentioned here. The remark with which 
my informant concluded her narrative: '* deixve t irws r^ fioTpa rov Kavtvas 8e' 
fiiropet va ri) &<f>tiyri " is almost a literal modern reproduction of what Homer 
said three thousand years ago : 

lioZpav 5' o&Tiva <prjfju ireQvyfxtvov fy/jLevcu avbpwv. 

II. vi. 488. 

Birth 135 

by the sponsor, 1 followed by the invited guests. The sponsor's 
office is no sinecure among the peasants of Macedonia. The 
respect paid to him by his godchildren is even greater than 
that accorded to their own parents, and his malediction is 
dreaded even more than that of a Bishop. The office is 
hereditary, and the sponsor or his heir is also expected to 
assist as best man at his godchild's marriage. It is only on 
very rare occasions that a new godfather is invited to perform 
these duties. For instance, if the new-born child is taken 
suddenly ill, and the family sponsor happens to live a long way 
off, or to be away on a journey, then a friend or relative takes 
his place. The infringement of the rule is then justified by the 
urgency of the case and the fear lest the child should die 
unchristened — a fear before which considerations of etiquette 
must give way. But should the child survive, the regular 
sponsor is afterwards asked to a banquet and is requested to 
give it his blessing. He is likewise expected to waive his 
right, if he proves to be the owner of an 'unlucky hand,' as 
has been mentioned before. 2 In case he does not do so, the 
child's parents are entitled to insist that he should nominate a 
substitute. So great is the veneration paid to the spiritual 
kinship between a godfather and his godchildren that a match 
between a lad and a lass who both have the same godfather or 
godmother is regarded as incest — they being brother and sister 
in Christ. Nor is intermarriage allowed between the godchild's 
and the godparent's families, as they are considered to be within 
the prohibited degrees of kinship. The sponsor and the child's 
father are termed Co-parents (%vvt€kvol) and their mutual 
relationship is that of spiritual brotherhood. 3 These observa- 
tions will enable the reader to appreciate the sponsor's position 
in the ceremony that follows. 

The party assembled, a procession is formed, and they all 

1 KctX^raras, at Melenik ; elsewhere Kovfiirapos or vovvtts. If a woman, she is 
designated Kakrjfidva at Melenik ; elsewhere Kovfxirapa or vovva. 

2 Supra^ p. 85. 

3 The same sacred relationship is implied in our old word gossip [God-sib 
1 related in the service of God'], a word which experienced many vicissitudes ere 
it sank to its present low position. 

136 Macedonian Folklore. 

repair to the church. The cortege is headed by the midwife, 
who carries the baby decked out in all possible finery and 
veiled with a thin gauze (aKeirr)). At the church-door the 
sponsor relieves the midwife of her burden, and they all march 
up the nave to the font. 1 After a preliminary prayer the priest 
asks the sponsor for the name, which is expected by the 
bystanders with breathless eagerness. When it is announced, 
some boys hurry off to the baby's home to inform the parents. 
They are received on the threshold by the father, who, on 
hearing it, throws to the messengers sugar-plums to scramble 
for. The name given frequently, though not invariably, is that 
of one of the grandparents. Sometimes it belongs to some 
other relative, or to the Saint on whose day the baptism takes 
place. But in all cases the sponsors are entitled to give any 
name they please, and from their decision there is no appeal. 
Hence the anxiety displayed by all parties concerned until the 
name is announced. 

The ceremony over, the sponsors distribute among the 
children present, and the bystanders generally, dry figs, coins, 
or, in the more highly civilized districts, cheap medals tied 
with a ribbon, as tokens that they have " witnessed " the 
ceremony. For this reason these tokens are called fjuaprvpid. 
From the church the party, with the priest at the head, return 
to the house, and offer to the parents their congratulations and 
wishes for the child's prosperity (yd eras ^cry, vd irpoKo-^rrj, 
etc.) The sponsor, who carries the baby home, hands it over to 
the mother with these words : 

" I deliver it unto thee in this life ; but I shall ask it back 
from thee in the next. Guard it well from fire, water, and all 

A banquet is then spread. The midwife, who throughout 
plays the part of Mistress of the Ceremonies, takes up a great 
circular cake (tcoXovpa), prepared for the nonce. This cake is 
smeared with honey and covered with sesame and almonds. 
She places some walnuts upon it, and setting it on her head, 
walks slowly round and round the table, crying ihoohoo ! 

1 The font in the Greek churches is a movable copper vessel. 

Birth 137 

mihoohoo ! until all the walnuts have dropped off one by one 
and are picked up by the boys. Then the cake is laid on the 
table, cut, and eaten. 1 


On the fortieth day after the baby's birth the mother, 
escorted by the midwife, who carries the baby in her arms, 
betakes herself to church that she may receive the priest's 
blessing and be purified by special prayers (ytd vd aapavriar)). 
From that day, and not until then, she is at liberty to attend 
divine service. 2 On their way home they call upon the sponsor 
and the nearest relatives. The mistress of each house takes an 
egg, sugar, or a sweet cake and, passing it over the child's face, 
bestows upon it the following benediction : 

"May est thou live, my little one. May est thou grow old, 
with hoary hair and eyebrows. With (if a male) a hoary beard 
and moustache/' (No £770779, fxucpo fiov y va yepdays, vd yevys 
fi dairpa jjuaXKia ko\ cfrpvBia, jjl aairpa ykveia teal fiova-TaKia.) 
And, having put a lump of sugar into its mouth, she hands the 
other gifts to the mother. 

Superstitious observances connected with childbirth. 

If a woman in an interesting condition suffers from an 
inordinate longing for some particular, and unobtainable, kind 
of food, her friends go out begging bread and other eatables 
from three different houses and make the sufferer partake of 
them. This operation is supposed to cure her. 

When a mother loses child after child (he crrpeyec iraihtd), 
the proper course for her to pursue is to take her last-born 
and expose it in the street. A friend, by previous arrangement, 
picks up the child and clothes it. A few days after she returns 
it to the mother, and for three years it is clothed in strange 

1 For a beautiful sketch of the christening ceremony among the peasantry of 
Thessaly, nearly identical with the above description, see X. Xpiaro^aaiX^ Ta 
Ba^riVia in * At^y^ara Gecro-aXt/ca,' Athens, 1900, pp. 39 foil. 

2 In Suffolk "a mother must not go outside her own house-door till she goes 
to be 'churched'." * Superstitions about new-born children* in The Booh of 
Days, vol. n. p. 39. 

138 Macedonian Folklore 

clothes, that is, clothes begged of relatives and friends. Some- 
times, in addition to this ceremony, the child's right ear is 
adorned with a silver ring which must be worn through life. 

At Liakkovikia the precautions are more elaborate still. 
The family sponsor being dismissed, the midwife takes the 
new-born infant and casts it outside the house-door. The first 
person who happens to pass by is obliged to act as sponsor. If, 
even after this measure, the children persist in dying, the 
mother is delivered of her next in a strange house, surrounded 
by all her kinswomen. As soon as the infant is born, the 
midwife puts ifc in a large handkerchief and carries it round the 
room, crying " A child for sale ! " (iraihl irovXco). One of the 
women present buys it for a few silver pieces and returns it to 
the mother. Then forty women, who have been married only 
once (it poor oar et^avoC), contribute a silver coin apiece, and out 
of these coins a hoop is made through which the child is passed. 
Afterwards this silver hoop is turned into some other ornament, 
which the child must always wear. 1 

These queer customs agree with the practice once prevalent 
in Scotland. "If the children of a family were dying in 
infancy, one after the other, it was thought that, by changing 
the name, the evil would be counteracted. The new name 
was called a ' road name,' being that of the first person en- 
countered on the road when going with the child to be 
baptized." 2 The custom is explained by Mr Campbell on the 
principle of the " luck " of the person met. But by comparing 
it with the Macedonian practice, it is possible to arrive 
at a different interpretation. The stranger's name, like the 
strange clothes, may well be intended to serve as a disguise 
calculated to deceive the beings, fairies, witches, or what not, 
to whose malevolent agency the evil is attributed. With regard 
to the name, it should be added that in Macedonia, as elsewhere, 
people avoid giving to a child the name of a brother or sister 
recently dead. So much is there in a name — when witches 
and fairies are about. 

1 A. A. Tovaiov, *'H Kara rd Hayycuov Xc6pa, 5 p. 75. 

2 J. G. Campbell, Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 
p. 245. 

Birth 139 

Another superstition connected with birth is the following: 
women in a state of pregnancy do not weave or spin on the 
feast of St Symeon (Feb. 3, o.s.), lest the child should be born 
with a mark {a^fxahtaKo). This superstition, in its present 
form at all events, is due to a fanciful analogy between the 
saint's name (Xv/jieaov) and the Greek for a " mark " (crrj^dBt), 
and belongs to a class of notions based on nothing more serious 
than mistaken etymology. 

A woman whose first child has died is not allowed to follow 
a funeral. 

As in England so in Macedonia a child born with a caul 
(to-lttcl) is considered fortunate. Pieces of the caul are sewed 
up and worn by the father and the child round their necks. 1 

The Evil Eye. 

No superstition is more widely held than the belief in 
the harmful influence of the human eye. It is common among 
the Hindoos, the Hebrews, the Arabs, the Turks, and the 
Moors. We find the belief rife amongst the lower classes in 
Spain — especially in Andalusia — and we are also told that one 
of the crimes of which the Gitanas in that country were most 
commonly accused, and for which they suffered in olden times, 
was that of casting the evil eye, or, as they in their own 
peculiar dialect phrase it, "making sick" (querelar nasula). 2 
Even in England those who kuow the West country are aware 
that to this day the belief amongst the rural population is 
not dead, but only dormant. Fear of ridicule generally compels 
the English farmer to conceal his deep-rooted conviction, but 
there come times when concealment is no longer possible, and 
then the latent superstition is revealed in all its ugliness. 3 

1 Cp. G. Georgeakis et L6on Pineau, Le Folk-Lore de Lesbos, p. 331 ; J. G. 
Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. i. pp. 53 foil. 

2 G. Borrow, The Zincali, Part i. eh. vni. 

3 The revelation is not unfrequently occasioned and accompanied by 
circumstances far from laughable, as will be seen from the following report of a 
case heard before the magistrates at Uxbridge in January, 1900. 

"A man and his wife were charged by the National Society for the Prevention 

140 Macedonian Folklore 

The antiquity of the superstition is equal to its popularity. 
It can with certainty be traced back to the earliest traditions 
of the Hebrew race, recorded in the Talmud. The Greeks and 
the Romans must have borrowed — or independently originated — 
the belief at a very old date. There are several allusions in the 
classical writers, which show that both the fear of the evil eye 
and some of the means of averting it were identical with those 
in vogue at the present day. Homer, indeed, is silent on the 
subject. But so he is on the subjects of magic, purification, 
ancestor- worship and many other practices of dateless antiquity. 
These superstitions, avoided by Homer for some reason or 
other, 1 are mentioned by the authors of the other epics, known 
as the Little Iliad, the Sack, the Gypria and the rest. 

In Macedonia the superstition in force and extent is second 
to none. Not only human beings, but also dumb creatures and 
inanimate objects, are liable to be blighted by the evil eye 
(to fidrc). The curse is to be dreaded most when its object 
is in an exceptionally flourishing condition : a very healthy 
and good-looking child, a spirited horse, a blooming garden, 
or a new house, are all subject to its influence. Nor is the 
casting of the evil eye always an act of wilful wickedness. 
The most innocent and well-meant expression of admiration 
can bring about the undesired effect. For this reason people 
are anxious to avoid such expressions, or, when uttered, to 
counteract them. 

One of the oldest and most prevalent methods for avoiding 

of Cruelty to Children with causing the death of two of their children by wilful 
neglect. The unhappy mites had died amid the filthiest of surroundings, and 
three brothers and sisters who still survived were described as being in a 
starving condition. To this most serious charge the prisoners merely replied 
that they had had the misfortune some time ago to incur the wrath of a gypsy, 
and they and theirs had consequently been * overlooked.' Since then nothing 
would prosper with them, and it was through the operation of the curse, and 
not for lack of proper nutriment, that the children had grown emaciated, and 
had finally died." The Morning Post, Jan. 19, 1900. 

1 Prof. Gilbert Murray (History of Ancient Greek Literature, p. 47) thinks 
that this silence has arisen "from some conventional repugnance, whether of 
race, or class, or tradition." In any case, we need not assume that Homer 
deliberately set himself the task of drawing a complete picture of contemporary 
Greek life for the benefit of posterity. 

Birth 141 

the effects of excessive admiration is that of spitting at the 
object which has evoked it. The shepherd in Theocritus, 
following the instruction of a wise old woman, spits thrice into 
his own lap in order to save himself from the consequences of 
self-admiration. 1 The proud city beauty does the same thing 
in order to shun the danger from the eye of the rustic admirer 
whom she scorns. 2 

The Romans entertained a similar notion concerning the 
evil eye and its cure. 3 

This is still the orthodox remedy for the evil eye among 
the Greeks of Macedonia and elsewhere. For instance, if one 
is moved to admiration at the sight of a pretty child, he hastens 
to avert the danger by spitting thrice in its face, and ac- 
companies the action with words almost identical with those 
employed by the ancient writers referred to above — Na ere 
(f>Tvcra) va jjuT) j3acr/cadf)<; ! 

Also persons seized by a sudden fright spit thrice into their 
laps, just as the shepherd and the maid of Theocritus did. 
<I>Twe \ rov /cop<f>o aov ! is a common expression often used 
ironically towards those w r ho seem to think too much of their 
own beauty. 4 

Many and various are the safeguards recommended and 
used against the evil eye. But the commonest — perhaps 
because the cheapest — of all is garlic. A clove of that 
malodorous plant is stitched to the cap of the new-born infant, 
and a whole string of it is hung outside the newly-built house, 
or from the branches of a tree laden with fruit. The formula 
" garlic before your eyes ! " (aicopha \ ra fidria aov) is also very 
commonly used by the child's mother or nurse to the person 

1 Idyl. vi. 39. 

2 lb. Ince.rt. 11. 11. 

3 See Pliny: veniam a deis petimiu spuendo in sinum — xxviii. 4, 7; Tibullus: 
Ter cane, ter dictfs despue carminibus, Eleg. 1. ii. 56; Juvenal: conspuiturque 
sinus, Sat. vii. 112. On its effect on sheep, cp. Virgil: Nescio quis teneros oculus 
mihi fascinat agnos, Bucol. Eel. in. 103. On its general power, Horace : Non 
istic obliquo oculo mea commoda quisquam Limat Epist. I. xiv. 37. 

4 For examples of the vast number of evils that can be averted by means of 
saliva, see Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. vn. pp. 16 — 19. 


142 Macedonian Folklore 

who ventures to fix his glance upon their charge without 
resorting to the traditional antidotes. 1 

Other articles employed for the safety of babies are a small 
cross, especially one made of rhinoceros' horn (/xovo/cepo), an old 
gold coin with the effigy of the Emperor Constantine upon it 
(KooaravrLvdro), and a cock's spur (icevTpl rov ireretvov). All 
these heterogeneous amulets are attached to the front of the 
baby's cap. But even then the child is not considered quite 
beyond the reach of witchery. Further precaution is taken in 
the form of a silver phylactery (<pv\axr6), containing cotton 
wool kept from the inauguration ceremony of a new church 
and, when possible, bits of the true cross, or, as it is termed, 
" the precious wood " (to rifxio %vko). This phylactery is 
slung under the child's arm. 

With these preservatives resorted to by the mothers of 
Macedonia may be compared those employed elsewhere. The 
rhinoceros' horn, for example, reminds one of the stag's horn 
which in Spain is considered an excellent safeguard. 2 The 
phylacteries also bear a strong resemblance to the devices 
employed by the Jews and Moors of Barbary. 3 The Jews of 
Turkey likewise carry about them bits of paper with " David's 
shield " (magendavid) drawn upon them. This is the Hexagram 
jfa regarded by them as a symbol of the Almighty and known 
to astrologers as the Macrocosm, while the Pentagram ^£ is 
the mystic sign of man, or the Microcosm. The first of these 
figures is further embroidered on clothes and engraven on 
door-posts as a talisman against evil spirits and evil influences. 
The Pentagram is also in use among the Jews. The Turks 
have borrowed it from them, and it can be found drawn both 
in their charms (ha'imali) and on the walls of their mosques. 
These places of worship are also commonly illuminated with 

1 Cp. Rennell Eodd, The Customs and Lore of Modern Greece, pp. 161 foil. 

2 "On that account a small horn, tipped with silver, is frequently attached 
to the children's necks by means of a cord braided from the hair of a black 
mare's tail. Should the evil glance be cast, it is imagined thai the horn 
receives it, and instantly snaps asunder." G. Borrow, The Zincali, Part i. 
ch. vni. 

3 lb. 

Birth 143 

oil lamps hanging from a wooden frame in the form of the 
mystic design. 1 

To return to the child. Sometimes even the armour 
described already is not deemed sufficiently strong to ward off 
the evil. When a child is taken suddenly ill, its indisposition 
is generally put down to the baneful influence of malignant 
eyes. If there is any doubt, it is either dispelled or confirmed 
by the following test. The rhinoceros' horn cross, or a sea- 
shell, is dropped into a bowl of water. If — as it usually 
happens — bubbles rise to the surface, that is taken as a certain 
proof that the child has been ' overlooked ' (fiaTcdadrjKe). 
In that case, it is either sprinkled with that water, or is made 
to drink of it, and the rest is thrown out of the house. The 
child's face is then marked with the dipped cross (Biacrravpcopovp 
to iraihi). In some districts the water used for the experiment 
is what is called 'speechless or dumb/ that is, water drawn 
overnight in perfect silence. 

The cause of the illness thus ascertained, there ensues 
the cure. Like fche amulets, the cure also is of a miscellaneous 
nature. Generally speaking it can be described as an act of 
purification with fire and water. Sometimes it appears as a 
purely Pagan rite : saliva obtained from the person who is 
suspected of having overlooked the child unintentionally is 
mixed with water, and the patient is made to drink it. 2 Or 
a piece is torn from that person's dress and burnt, and the 
victim is fumigated with it. If the culprit cannot be identified, 
or if he refuses to undo the harm, the sufferer is taken to 
church, and the priest reads some prayers over it ; for sorcery 
(ftaa/cavla) is expressly recognized by the Greek Church as 
one of Satan's weapons, to be fought against by Christian 

1 The Greeks of Mytilene too were in older days in the habit of using such 
candelabra at weddings as a symbolic wish for the health and general well-being 
of the newly-married pair. Some interesting details about this custom are given 
in a quaint Greek history of the island ''H Aec/Ms,' by 2. A. ' Avayv docrrov, 
Smyrna, 1850, p. 2ol. See also Coray "Araxra, torn. iv. pp. 405 foil. 

2 An analogous practice was in vogue among the Roman old women : Ecce 
avia.. .puerum. . .salivis expiat, mentis oculos inhibere perita. Pers. Sat. n. 30 foil. 
Cp. Petr. 131. 

144 Macedonian Folklore 

means. Should religion also fail, a censer with frankincense 
in it is placed on the floor, and the child's father, holding it in 
his arms, jumps three times through the curling smoke. 

A good guarantee against the evil eye and all witchery 
(rd fidyeia) is afforded by a coat worn inside out. 1 

Horses and mules are safeguarded by means of blue glass 
beads woven into their bridles and trappings, or into their 
manes and tails. The Turks supplement these preservatives 
by the addition of a wild boar's tusk or by a charm hung round 
the beast's neck. 

Houses, besides the heads of garlic already mentioned, are 
sometimes protected, just as in England, by a horseshoe nailed 
over the door. This is said to " break the influence of the evil 
eye " (cnravei to imcltv). When the roof is placed over a house 
in the course of erection, the bricklayers plant on the top two 
Christmas trees each adorned with a cross, and they stretch a 
string from one to the other. Upon this string they hang 
kerchiefs, sashes, and other articles with which the owner of 
the house, the architect, and friendly neighbours are wont to 
present them. The Jews in Salonica fix a hand of wood with 
outstretched fingers high up in a corner of the house, and 
suspend from it a string of garlic or an old shoe. 

Fields, vines, and orchards are protected by the bleached 
skulls of cattle, stuck on the top of stakes. These serve a 
double purpose, first to ward off evil and secondly to scare 
off crows. A similar custom prevails in some of the islands 
of the Aegean; 2 but it is not confined to the Greeks, who in 
all probability have inherited it from their forefathers. 3 It is 
equally popular among the Bulgarians of Macedonia, who regard 
these ghastly scarecrows as bringers of prosperity. 

1 In England it used to be considered lucky to put on any article of dress, 
particularly stockings, inside out. But it should not be done on purpose. 
The Book of Days, vol. n. p. 321. Cp. Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore 
Society, vol. iv. p. 80; 141. 

2 W. H. D. Bouse, 'Folklore from the Southern Sporades' in Folk-Lore, 
June, 1899, p. 181. 

3 Waehsmuth, Das alte Griechenland im neuen, p. 62, in Tozer, Researches in 
the Highlands of Turkey, vol. i. p. 383. 

Birth 145 

As has been observed, the evil eye is not always cast 
designedly, or with an evil purpose. It often is the effect 
of sincere, though ill-advised, admiration, which brings down 
upon its object the wrath of a jealous deity. 1 For a like reason 
the pious Macedonian forbears to use boastful expressions : 
" Utter not a big word " (fjirjv Xi<? fieydXo Xoyo) is a common 
saying which recalls the moralizing of the chorus of old men 
in the tragedy : 

fieydXoi Be Xoyoi 

peydXas TrXrjyds twv virepav^cov 


yrjpa to <f>povetv ehL§at;av? 

" The boastful, having paid a high penalty for their haughty 
words, by suffering severe affliction, have learnt wisdom in their 
old age." 

The Turks also express the same fear of uttering "big 
words " in their homely proverb : 

" Eat a big mouthful, but speak not a big word." 3 

Akin to this is the ancient Roman superstition of the " evil 
tongue." 4 

Persons who, after having been weaned in their infancy, 
took to sucking again, are especially endowed with an evil eye, 
and are very chary of expressing enthusiasm, or, if they are 
betrayed into undue praise, they are careful to save the object 
by spitting and uttering the appropriate formula. There are, 
however, among them those who either from innate malignity, 
or prompted by a sense of humour, delight in a wanton exercise 
of their terrible power. I have heard of an ancient dame of 
Salonica who had the reputation of possessing an evil eye. 
Many of her achievements were whispered with becoming awe. 

1 Cp. the ideas of the old Greeks on the subject: to deiov irav 4bv <t>$ovep6i>, 
Hdt. i. 32, in. 40; b 5e 0€bs...<f>dovepb$...evpi<rKeTcu £6v, vn. 46, vin. 109; (piXtec 
yap b debs ra virep^x 0J/TCL tt&vto. KoXotietu, vii. 10, etc. 

2 Soph. Ant. 1350 foil. Cp. Aesch. Prom. 329 : y\(b<rcrri fxaraia fyfjda irpoa-Tpt^eTai. 

3 Booyook lokma ye } booyook shay soileme, which the Greeks render literally: 
fiey&Xrj x^'a 0"7 e ? fAey&Xo \6yo fM7) X^s. 

4 See Virgil: ne vati noceat mala lingua futuro, Bucol. Eel. vii. 28; Catullus: 
mala fascinare lingua, vii. 12. 

A. F. 10 

146 Macedonian Folklore 

One day, it was said, as she sat at her window, she saw a young 
man passing on horseback. He seemed to be so proud of himself 
and his mount that the old lady — who, like the Deity in 
Herodotus, " was fond of laying the exalted low," — could not 
resist the temptation of humbling him. One dread glance from 
her eye and one short cry from her lips : " Oh, what a gallant 
cavalier!" brought both horse and horseman to their knees. 
On another occasion she noticed a servant carrying a pie from 
the oven in a tray poised on his head. The rosy colour and the 
seductive smell of the pie induced the redoubtable lady to 
express her admiration, and she did it in terms which brought 
about the immediate ruin of the pie. 1 

1 For a full and comprehensive " Account of this ancient and widespread 
superstition" the reader is referred to Mr F. T. Elworthy's work on The Evil 
Eye, London, 1895, 



Preliminary steps. 

According to the Macedonians the age at which people 
should marry is from fifteen to seventeen for women and from 
eighteen to twenty for men. The match seldom is the result 
of love, but, as in so many other countries, it is arranged 
between the parents on either side, with a keen eye to the 
material welfare of the contracting parties, rather than with 
any reference to their sentimental predilections. And can we 
wonder at the young Macedonian peasant's willingness to submit 
to the rulings of parental authority, when we reflect that the 
great Achilles himself — the "author of the battle-din " and 
the favoured of the Olympians — in refusing the hand of 
Agamemnon's daughter, contrasted her with the bride whom, 
" if the Gods spared him and he reached home safely," his own 
father would choose for him? 1 

Even in democratic Athens the young lady was allowed no 
voice in the matter. Hermione undoubtedly gives utterance 
to the prevailing notions of propriety when she declares : 

" Of my wedding my own father will take care, and 't is not 
meet for me to decide in these matters." 2 

Notwithstanding, however, this conventional rule, and the 
restrictions by which intercourse between the sexes is circum- 
scribed, the lads and lasses of Macedonia manage to meet 
occasionally either at the village fountain, where the latter 
go for water, or at the public fairs and festivals (7ravrjyvpca) 
or at weddings and other social gatherings. The classic custom 

1 Horn. II. ix. 394. 2 Eur. Andr. 987. 


148 Macedonian Folklore 

of wooing a damsel by throwing an apple into her lap 1 still exists, 
though it is condemned by public opinion as improper, and is 
strongly resented by the maid's kinsfolk as an impertinence. 

In many cases the nuptial negotiations are carried on 
through the medium of a ' match-maker ' male or female 
{irpo^evrjTrj^ or TrpogevTjTpa), 2 generally the latter. This matri- 
monial agent is in some parts sent by the youth's parents to 
the girl's ; in others by the girl's parents to the youth's. 
Through this channel a preliminary ' agreement ' (o-vfi^xovia) 
is arrived at regarding the terms of the contract, namely, 
whether the maid is to be provided with a trousseau only 
(irpolfca), or with a dowry in coin, kind, or landed property 
as well {Tpd^wfjua). 

Indeed, one regrets to have to record that too often the 
question of money, or money's worth, is the chief subject of 
these diplomatic negotiations. Even in Macedonia, where so 
much of primitive tradition and culture is still kept up, the 
times when princes wedded poor shepherd-maids — if such times 
ever were — have passed away. An imprudent match, however 
it may be applauded in the plot of a fairy tale, as an occurrence 
in real life cannot be too severely reprobated and deplored. 

The bargain concluded, the match-maker is entrusted by 
the bride's parents with a ring and a richly broidered hand- 
kerchief, which she brings to the youth's home and exchanges 
for a ring sewed with red silk thread on a black silk hand- 
kerchief and a golden piece (<j>\ovpi), as well as flowers and 
sweets for the bride, and suitable presents for the rest of the 
family. These mutual gifts are known as ' tokens ' (a7jfidBia), 
and their exchange as 'word of troth' (X0709), which on no 
account can be broken. The young people are henceforth 
regarded as practically, though not yet formally, f bound to- 
gether' (avSe/JLevoL). 3 

1 Theocr. Id. xi. 10. 

2 Cp. the TrpofAvriGTpia of the ancient Greeks and the Svat or Svakha of the 
modern Eussians. 

3 In some of the islands of the Aegean the betrothed are called apfioarbs 
and apfioffTY}, ' united,' a word that goes back to the 2nd century a.d. 
W. H. D. Rouse, 'Folk-lore from the Southern Sporades' in Folk-Lore t , 
June, 1899, p. 180 n. 2. 

Marriage 149 

The Macedonians have no objection to giving away their 
daughters to strangers. They naturally prefer natives of their 
own village, 1 but are not averse to sending their daughters 
"abroad" ('? ra giva), which often means only two or three 
miles off, or receiving daughters-in-law "from abroad" (airb r. £.). 
The strong stress laid upon the evils of expatriation in the 
wedding songs, to be noticed in the course of this sketch, is 
a pure matter of fiction — or rather of traditional convention ; 
and the grievance is probably a mere survival of an old practice 
of exogamy long extinct. The same idea seems to underlie the 
complaints of Russian brides, who describe themselves as about 
to be carried into " far-off lands/' when, perhaps, they are not 
going to leave their native village. These conventional plaints 
are by Russian folklorists explained as relics of the well-known 
clan system of olden times, according to which the members of 
the same community looked upon themselves as belonging to 
one family, and so neither marrying nor giving in marriage was 
possible within the limits of the clan. The girls had, therefore, 
to go away from home when they married, and, considering the 
relations between barbarous communities, a young bride might 
well regard herself as migrating into the land of potential foes 
to her own kith and kin. 2 

As a matter of fact, the state of things regarded by the 
Russian folklorist as belonging to the dead past is actually 
flourishing in certain parts of the Balkan Peninsula. The 
Mirdites, a Catholic clan of Northern Albania, to this day 
religiously refrain from intermarrying within their own tribe; 
but as a general rule they carry off wives from among their 
Mohammedan neighbours. 3 Consequently a Mirdite wedding as 

1 The Macedonian peasant is too shrewd and too patriotic not to feel the 
force of the Hesiodic dictum : 

tt)v 5e yuctXtcrra yafxeiv, 77ns <r40€P iy^rjdi vaLei. W. and D. 700. 
"Marry thy neighbour." Indeed, he gives expression to the same idea in 
more forcibly figurative, though somewhat less elegant, language : IIa7rouT(7t, 
iraXrioTrawovTO-o koX vavai irb top t6tto fiov: "I am content with a shoe, even an 
old shoe, so long as it is one made in my own native village." 

2 Kalston, Sojigs of the Russian People, p. 308. 

3 "Odysseus," Turkey in Europe, p. 397; Tozer, Researches in the High- 
lands of Turkey, vol. 1. pp. 318, foil. 

150 Macedonian Folklore 

often as not is preceded by a series of funerals. For, although 
the Mohammedan maid may in some cases have no unconquer- 
able aversion to being abducted, it frequently happens that her 
kinsmen consider it a point of honour to defend her in grim 
earnest. Besides, an Albanian lives in a perpetual feud. He 
loves a fight for its own sake ; how much more ready he must 
therefore be to shed his blood — or that of his future son-in-law — 
in a cause wherein the honour of his clan is involved ! 

Among the Macedonians the capture of wives has long 
ceased to be an actual practice ; but the memory thereof still 
survives in many of the symbolic customs connected with the 
marriage ceremony. Abductions, however, are not rare, and 
love sometimes triumphs over the barriers set up by use 
and wont. 1 


On the Sunday following the ' agreement,' takes place the 
formal betrothal (rj appaftdova). The engagement is sanctified 
by an elaborate ceremony (%Tavpo\oyia), to which are invited 
the married relatives of both sides (crvfnredepoi). 

The youth's parents, preceded by the parish priest and 
followed by the friends who are to act as ' witnesses ' {jxaprvpot), 
repair to the maid's house. On entering, they exchange with 
her parents and friends good wishes for the prosperity of the 
young pair. Then they take their seats on the low divan 
which runs round three sides of the room, and after a while 
the ' match-maker ' rises, and in tones beflttingly solemn 
announces the object of the gathering. Thereupon the priest 
and the parents on both sides draw near the icon-stand 
(el/covoarda-i), under which is placed a small table with the 
' tokens ' upon it. The priest in the presence of the ' witnesses ' 

1 Among the Bulgarians of Macedonia the purchase of wives seems to survive 
in a modified form. At Petritz during the Feast of the Nativity of the God- 
mother (Ta yev£9\ia ttjs Qeordicov Sept. 8 o.s. Popularly to iravaytipi ttjs 
Havaylas) I witnessed two transactions of this kind. In one case the bridegroom 
agreed to pay for the maid of his choice £T3; in the other he beat his 
prospective father-in-law down to £T2J. The average price of a Macedonian 
cow is, I believe, JET 5. 

Marriage 151 

proceeds to question the parents concerning the terms of the 
' agreement/ and until the actual marriage he is held officially 
cognizant of the contract, as a representative of the higher 
ecclesiastical authorities. 

This piece of business over, the religious part of the pro- 
ceedings commences. After some prayers suitable to the 
occasion, the priest takes up the rings and hands the youth's 
to the maid's parents and vice versa (dXXd^ei rd Ba^rvXcSta). 
Then enters the bride and salutes the assembly by kissing 
every one's hand (^etpo^tX^/xa), while they in their turn present 
her with a gift of one or two golden pieces each. She then 
offers them refreshments : jam (yXvfco), coffee, and wine or 
arrack (/cipao-^a), and presents her future parents-in-law, as 
well as the match-maker, with a pair of woollen socks (<tkov- 
cpovvia) knitted with her own hands. The usual wish to the 
bride is " Mayest thou enjoy the kerchief in good health" 
(Me yeid ktj to fJLavrrjXi). 

The company then rise and repair to the bridegroom's 
house, where they are received by him on the door-step and 
have their hands kissed. Refreshments follow in the same 
way as before, and the guests while helping themselves wish 
the affianced pair all prosperity. The party then breaks up. 

Meanwhile the bride receives the visits and congratulations 
of her maiden friends, who set up a dance, accompanied by 
songs of which the following are examples. 

I. TpayovSt t/?? dppa/3a>va<;. 

(from Thasos). 

li Tpavracj)vXXovBb fi kokicivo, /jbrfXo fiov fiapajjuivo, 

2az> ere (f>cX(b fiapaivecai, <rdv ere fcparoo Kkwviecrai,. 

KopyrcL fjb, aXXov dyairas, aXXov deXeis va irdpr\^ 

" Bpe Bev iriarevec^, air tare, zeal Bev TroXvjrLaTeveis, 

Bai/e ftiyXa '? rd airvria jjlov, Troprai? teal irapaOvpia, 

Kal avpe <j>ip€ tol>9 yiarpovs, tov$ KapBioBiaXexrdBes, 

Na fiov BiaXegovv rrf tcapBid /ej) oXa rd (fcvXXo/cdpBia, 

Ktj civ evpys V aXXov veibv <pcXl kt} air aXXop vetbv dydirri^ 

%<$>d%e fi\ d(f>Gvrrj fiov, <r(f>d^€ fA dirdv 's rd yovard aov, 

152 Macedonian Folklore 

Kal fjudae fcal to alfxa fiov \ eva %pvcro fiavTrjXc y 

Sfp' to '9 evvea ywpid, avp to \e ScbBetca /ea^aSe?, 

K?) av a€ pcoTrjcrovv < tl V avTO ;' * 79 d^dirr\^ /jlov to al/juaj " 

'Aryanr) OeXei cfrpovrjcri deXec Taireivcocrvvi], 

©e\et teal fxaTia ^afirfXd vd aKvcf)Tovv vd irrjryaivovv. 

I. Betrothal Song. 

" My blushing little rose, my bashful apple, 

When I kiss thee thou fadest, when I embrace thee thou tremblest. 
My dear maid, thou lovest another; 'tis another thou wishest to wed." 
"Friend, thou wilt not trust me. unbelieving one, thou wilt put no 

faith in my words ! 
Set a watch in my house, at both doors and windows, 
And go and fetch the doctors, and the searchers of hearts, 
That they may search my heart and all the petals of the heart, 
And if thou findest therein a kiss from another youth, for another 

youth love, 
Then slay me, my lord, slay me upon thy knees, 
And gather my blood in the folds of a gold-broidered kerchief, 
Take it to nine villages, take it to twelve districts, 
And when they question thee : * What is this ? ' say : ' The blood of my 

beloved.' " 
Love needs prudence, love needs modesty, 
It also needs downcast eyes, eyes that are bent low in walking. 

II. f/ F*T€pov (tov %o/oo{5). 

(from Nigrita). 1 

AvTa Ta fiaTta a, Arjfj.6 fi\ Tafiop<f>a, 
Ta fypvhia a Ta ypa/ifieva, 

— 2 6 K\alv Ta fiaTta fiov. 
AvTa fie fcdvovv, Arj/JLO fi, kt) dppcoaTcb, 
Me Kavovv tcai ireOalvw. 

— 2e icXalv Ta fiaTta /jlov. 
Via fi<ydXe>* Afjfio fi\ t dpyvpo airaB^ 
Kcu /coyfres fJb TO K€<f>dXl, 

— 2e icXalv Ta fiaTta fiov. 

1 Another version of this song is to be found in A. A. Tovatov, ' Ta Tpayo^dia 
TTjs llarpidos fiov. ' No. 107. 
var. 7rctpe. 

Marriage 153 

Km fidcr to, Arj/io fi' teal to alfid fiov 
'2 eva xpvero fiavTrfki, 

— 2e ickalv to. fjuaTca fiov. 
Kat avp to, Atj/jlo fi' '<? to, ivved Reaped, 
'2 tcl Be/ca ftikaeTia, 

— 2e kKclIv tcl /juaTca fiov. 
Kr) av ere pcoTrjcrovv, Arjfio /a,* " ti V clvto ;" 
I 9 ayaTTT}? fiov to aifia. 

— 2e tcXaiv t<z fiaTia fiov. 

II. Another {Dancing Song). 1 

Refrain : My eyes are weeping for thee. 

These fair eyes of thine, my Demos, 

These pencilled eyebrows, 

'Tis these that make me, my Demos, fall ill, 

That make me die. 

Come draw, my Demos, thy silver-hilted sword, 

And cut off my head, 

And gather up, O my Demos, my blood 

In a gold-broidered kerchief, 

And take it, my Demos, to the nine villages, 

To the ten Governments, 

And if they ask thee, my Demos, " What is this ? " 

Say " 'Tis the blood of my beloved." 

Next day ' trays ' {atvid) of sweets and cakes are exchanged 
between the two families twice: the first instalment being 
distributed among the various members of each family; the 
second destined for the affianced pair. These cakes are also 
accompanied with a number of gifts of a more lasting nature 

A month later, upon a Sunday, takes place an official 
interchange of visits. The bride's parents invite their nearest 
relatives of both sexes and, accompanied by them, call upon the 
bridegroom. The latter, escorted by his friends, returns the 
call either on the same or on the following Sunday. 

1 The ring of dancers is led by the irp^Tbavpros who sings out each verse, 
the chorus taking up the refrain (nwakavTrj). 

154 Macedonian Folklore 

The bridegroom is expected to send presents to his be- 
trothed from time to time, and more especially at Christmas 
and Easter. These presents generally consist of articles of 
apparel, such as belts, shoes, silk handkerchiefs, caps and so 
forth. During Cheese-Week he sends sweet cakes, on Easter 
Eve a coloured candle and coloured eggs. The bride returns 
analogous presents, except the candle. 

The path of courtship, rough and beset by obstacles as it 
is before the betrothal, is hardly made smoother by that event. 
The bridegroom, ere he begins visiting his fiancee, must wait 
to be asked by her father to dinner. Nor is he, on these rare 
occasions, allowed a tete-a-tete with his future partner. As 
a rule their intercourse is limited to a hand-shake at meeting, 
when the maid kissing the young man's hand demurely bids 
him welcome (kcl\cq$ opLare), and then offers him refreshments, 
and to a similar salutation at parting — all this being done 
under the severe eyes of her parents. No other communication 
is allowed, though, of course, blood being thicker than water, 
the young people often contrive to enjoy a clandestine con- 
versation, which is none the less sweet because forbidden. The 
difficulties and perils by which such an enterprise is attended 
are illustrated by the following anecdote which I heard at 

A youth was very anxious to have a few minutes' chat with 
his betrothed, and on a misty morning waylaid her close to 
the fountain. The maid, the first surprise being over, was 
nothing loth to see her beloved, and, shielded as she was by the 
mist, she allowed him a modest embrace : they fancied them- 
selves alone. At that critical moment, however, some jealous 
demon lifted the veil of vapour and exposed the hapless twain 
to the censorious eyes of a party of women, who had meanwhile 
arrived and, attracted by the sound of the lovers' whisperings, 
stood listening. The pair shame-faced took to flight ; but 
it was long ere the tongues of the village grew weary of 
wagging at their expense. 

Marriage 155 

The Wedding Preparations. 

The marrying season among the Macedonian peasants is the 
end of October, about the time of the Feast of St. Demetrius 
(Oct. 26th o. s.). At that time of year the labours of the field 
are over, the vintage just concluded, and the villagers are in 
possession of the two essentials of merry-making : leisure 
and wine. The choice of time, as is seen, is dictated by purely 
practical considerations. Yet, it could hardly be expected 
that so important an event in a man's life should be entirely 
free from the influence of superstition, which on so many other 
occasions overrules expediency. We accordingly find that there 
are times and seasons, months and days, during which no one 
dare marry. No wedding, for instance, can take place in a leap- 
year. No wedding or even betrothal is celebrated, except on a 
waxing moon. 1 Monday (AeuTepa) is a bad day, for a marriage 
solemnized on that day is apt to be 'repeated' (hevTepcoveu). 
This is a belief evidently arising from the name of the day, 2 
and it does not hold among non-Greek populations. On the 
contrary, among the Christian Albanians Monday is said to be 
the day for marriage, and most weddings in that province take 
place upon that day. 3 Tuesday is also an unlucky day for 
marrying as for most other things. But of all days of the week 
the most fatal to conjugal felicity is Wednesday — an opinion 
very positively expressed by the popular saying: 

r/ 0\a fias dvarroSa /cr) 6 yd/j,o$ ttj TerpdSr} 

" Everything is topsy-turvy with us : even our wedding was on a 

Of months May is looked upon as particularly unsuitable 
for marriage. This prejudice against May is not confined to 
Macedonia, or indeed to the Greek race. It is shared by nearly 

1 The Orkney islanders likewise object to marrying on a waning moon, an 
instance of symbolism, based on association of ideas, which imagines a sym- 
pathy of growing and declining nature with the changes of the moon. See 
Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 130. 

2 Cp., however, Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 61. 

3 "Odysseus," Turkey in Europe, p. 386. 

156 Macedonian Folklore 

all European nations. It is met with in England, Italy and 
France. In many French provinces one still hears the proverb: 
" May wedding, deadly wedding " {Noces de Mai, noces de rnort). 
We also know that it existed in a very strong form in ancient 
Rome. Ovid tells us that both maidens and widows avoided 
lighting the bridal torch in that month, for fear lest it should 
soon be turned into a burial torch. The same poet supplies 
us with an explanation of the prevailing superstition. He 
attributes it to the occurrence in that month of the funeral 
rites of the Lemuralia. 1 If that explanation is correct, in the 
modern objection to May weddings we have an interesting 
survival, "a striking example how an idea, the meaning of 
which has perished for ages, may continue to exist simply 
because it has existed/' 2 

The Macedonians, like the Jews, are fond of stretching out 
a festival to its utmost length, and a Macedonian wedding may 
be compared to a tedious fifteen-act play. It lasts for a whole 
fortnight, each day having its own duties and delights. It 
further resembles a Jewish wedding in its complex and alle- 
gorical character, as will soon appear. 


When the date for the marriage ceremony has been fixed, 
the bridegroom on the preceding Sunday sends to the bride a 
quantity of henna, and soon after he calls in person. He kisses 
the hands of his parents-in-law that are to be, and then without 
further ado proceeds to the point, which is a pure matter of 
business. If the bride, according to the 'agreement/ is to 
bring him a portion in money, he receives it there and then, or 
if the Tpdx<0/jLa consists of land or real property he gets a 
written security for it. 

1 Nee viduae taedis eadem, nee virginis apta 
Tempora. Quae nupsit, non diuturna fuit. 
Hac quoque de causa, si te proverbia tangunt, 
Mense malas Maio nubere volgus ait. 

Ovid. Fast. v. 487. 
2 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. pp. 70 — 71. 

Marriage 157 

In the evening commence the festivities. The bridegroom's 
comrades assemble in his house, where they sing and make 
merry, while to the bride's house resort her maiden friends and 
amuse themselves in like manner. These maidens assist in 
the preparations throughout the week. 

First of all, on the Monday they help the bride to dye her 
hair with the henna received from the bridegroom. They also 
dye their own hair with it. This act is accompanied by a 
special song: 

TpayovSi, rrj<; ^apa?. 1 

(From Cavalla.) 

"Ovras fidvovv rrj vv<f)7) icavd. 

" Ev%^o"OU /jl€, fiavovXa fiov, vd ftdXa) rf}? /jL7roytat<; fAOv" 
"Me rrjv evj(r) ji 9 iraihdici fiov, va ^rjcrre, vd irpoico'tyTe" 
"*Av %ov<76 ktj 6 irarepas /jlov, crdv ri %«/>« Od rjrav! 
*Av %ovcrav koX r dSepcfua jjlov, crdv tl X a P^ &** rjrav! 
*A<? elv KaXd r\ /xdva fiov, irdXt %apd 6 a yevy /" 

Wedding Song. 
The dyeing of the bride's hair. 

"Bless me, my dear mother, that I may apply the dye." 

" You have my blessing, my dear child : May you both live and prosper." 

" If my father was in life, Oh, what a Kejoicing would there be ! 

If my brothers were in life, Oh, what a Rejoicing would there be! 

May my mother be well, still a Rejoicing there shall be!" 2 

Tuesday, being a day of ill-omen, is spent in idleness, 
except that the bride and her maids wash their hair. Wed- 
nesday witnesses the "folding up of the trousseau" (harXwvow 
rrj irpocKa). The 'Inviter' (KaXearpa) with a tinsel-covered 

1 Xapa ' Rejoicing ' is the name by which the wedding (yafAos) is very usually 
called. The 'Rejoicing Songs' (rpayoOdia ttjs Xapas), however, as will be seen, 
often are of a very un joyful character. For other songs of this class from 
Kephalonia see Bernhard Schmidt, Hochzeitslieder Nos. 40 — 43. 

2 It need not be supposed that her father and brothers are really dead. 
The Macedonians like to take their ' Rejoicings' sadly, or, may be, to enhance 
the pleasure by the contrast of pain— a trait of character which must constantly 
be borne in mind. 

158 Macedonian Folklore 

nosegay on her right temple goes round to the houses of 
friends and relatives and asks only married women to come in 
the afternoon to assist at this function. Most of the . articles 
are deposited in brand-new and gaily painted chests, but 
others — especially those which are intended as presents for the 
kinsfolk and the best man (/caXrjrdra^) — are exhibited. All 
this is done to the accompaniment of musical instruments. 


Thursday is the busiest day of all, and in some districts the 
preparations do not seriously begin till then. In such districts 
the second dyeing of the bride's hair takes place in the morning. 
In the afternoon both at the bridegroom's and the bride's house 
are gathered their respective female relatives and friends 
(crvuireOepais) with the 'best woman ' (fcaXrjfjLava) and prepare 
the bread necessary for the feast to follow (rridvovv to TrpcoTo- 
^cofMo or rd rrpo^vfica, iraphaki^ovv or ^vjjlwvovv, whence they 
are called ^vpLooarpacs). Among other things, they make seven 
bridal cakes in the following manner : 

Three maidens each take a sieve and sift a small quantity of 
flour. Then a maiden, whose parents are both alive, with 
three once-married women {irpcoToari(f>avoi) knead the dough. 
Little children help them by pouring hot water into it : thus 
innocence lends a helping hand to purity : the cakes in the 
circumstances are bound to bring good luck to all concerned. 
In some parts, however, this task is performed by the bride- 
groom's own sister or, in default of a sister, by one of his 

The married ladies referred to above put into the dough 
coins, with which the maidens afterwards buy buns and honey 
and eat them with much solemnity (Tpcoyov/jue to pi^io). In 
some districts they mix with the dough a symbolic pair of 
hooks : eye and hook (apaevLKo teal OtjXvko, lit. ( male and 
female'), a ring, and a copper coin. 

While this is doing the bystanders sing in chorus various 
songs, beginning with the following : 

Marriage 159 

I. {From Liakkovikia. 1 ) 

Miya fiov ^ravpe, fieydXe r/ Al Teoopyrj, 
Na avfifiacrovfie to veto f^evydpt, 
Me rfj ^dyapi real fie to fieXc. 

"Great Holy Cross, and Great St. George, 
Help us to unite together the young pair 
With sugar and with honey." 

II. (From Vassiliha.) 

r/ OXa tcl TTOvXaKia %vyd, %vyd, 
K' eva %e\tS6V*, fiova^b 
Hep^Trarel '9 tclIs Bdcfrvais /ecu XaXel, 
Kal OXtfteTai, real Xiec • 
" IIco? vd Trepaaco Tpefc OdXacrcrais 
Ky aXXais rp€6<? \ tt) fidva fiov vd iraco ;" 

All the little birds walk in pairs; 

But one swallow lonely 

Wanders among the laurel-trees singing, 

And wailing and saying : 

"Ah me, how shall I cross these three seas, 

And three more, in order to arrive at my mother?" 

III. (From Nigrita.) 

^Airoyfre at pa vd V fcaXr/, XptcrTe JLvXoyTjfiive, 
N<i iridaovfie to veio yfrcofiL, r d(j>pdTo ira^Lfidhi, 

K' T) fCOpTJ TTOV TO %VfltDV€ fie fJidva fl€ TTaTepa, 

Sd ^vfiooa to veto wpo^vfii, vd (fray yafiTrpo? Kal vv(j>r}, 
Kal to tyvfet, 0X0. 

May this evening be auspicious, Blessed Christ, 

To knead the new bread, the frothy biscuit. 

The maid who kneads it has both mother and father, 

She will make the new dough, that groom and bride may eat, 

And all their kindred. 

1 A. A. Tovaiov ' Td Tpayotidta rrjs ILarpidos pov. y No. 37. 

160 Macedonian Folklore 

When the fermentation of the dough is completed (orav 
<f>7d<rovv) the Kalimana smears one of the cakes with honey, 
sprinkles it with sesame, and adorns it with almonds. This is 
the cake which will be used for the holy communion in the 
wedding ceremony. The other six, which are distributed 
among the relatives after the service, are prepared in like 
manner by the Sympetherais. In some districts two big ring- 
shaped cakes (/coXovpia) are made, which the bride wears round 
her arms on her way to the bridegroom's house on the wedding- 
day. She then breaks one of them half-way to the house and 
the other at the entrance, and scatters the pieces among the 
crowd. These pieces are picked up and religiously preserved, 
for they are supposed to possess wondrous virtues for women 
in child-bed. 

While these cakes are in the course of preparation, the 
bridegroom secretly sends to the bride's house a boy with a 
little flour. Her friends lure her to a corner and there sprinkle 
the flour over her {rrjv dXevpcovovv). The same trick is played 
upon any relatives of the bride who happen to call at the 
bridegroom's during the day and vice versa. This custom of 
•' beflouring," which is now-a-days regarded as mere horseplay, 
may well have originated in the belief that flour keeps evil 
spirits off. We find that oatmeal is used in the Highlands of 
Scotland with an avowedly similar purpose. 1 

In the evening one of the bride's maiden friends puts on a 
man's cap — thus symbolically representing the bridegroom — 
and dyes the bride's hair with henna, while the other maids 
stand round singing. They then take the bride by the hand 
and set up a dance. The following are some of the songs sung 
on this occasion. 

1 It was usual with people going on journeys after nightfall to take some 
with them ; the pockets of boys were filled with it ; old men sprinkled them- 
selves with it when going on a night journey. J. G. Campbell, Superstitions 
of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, pp. 47 foil. 

Marriage 161 

I. {From Zichna arid Pravi.) 

NLta <f>opd V rj Xeftevrid, 

~Mtd cf>opd V rd veidra. 

Me ^ovXeyfrav rj efjuoptyais tcf) oXa rd iraXXrjicdpia, 

Me ^ovXe^fre /c r) fidva jjlov ical deXei vd fie Std)^rj. 

AiGotje? fjue, /jbdva fjb 9 8 looses /jue ttoXv /xa/cpva \ rd geva, 

Na icdvco %evai<; dSep^ah ical %kvai<$ irapafidvaL?, 

HeVat? vd ttXgv rd povyd fiov, %evai<$ ical rd icaXd /nov, 

yidva fiov, rd XovXovBia fiov icaXd vd ra tcvTTa^ys. 

*Afc6/j,a (TTjfjiepd ' jacll Sc5, avpuo ical to 2a/8/3aro, 

T^ Kvpia/crj a d(j)ivco yeid /j,€ fMTjXo ^a^apdro. 

y Acf)ivo) yetd \ tov fjua^aXd ical yeid \ rd TraXXrj/cdpia, 

*A<f)Lvco ical \ T7) fjudva /ulou rpia yvaXid (faap/judia,* 

T&va vd irivrj to irpay't ical r dXX to fAeo-Tjfiepc, 

TSva to fipdhv vd Seiwva, vd ire^Trj vd tcoifiarcu 1 . 

Youth comes but once 2 , 

We are young only once. 

The fair ones and all the brave lads are jealous of me. 

My own mother also envies me and seeks to turn me out. 

Turn me out, my mother, send me far away to foreign parts, 

That I may make sisters of strange women, and foster-mothers of 

That foreign women may wash my linen, and my best clothes. 

my mother, tend my dear plants well. 

5 Tis but to-day, to-morrow, and on Saturday that I am here, 
On Sunday I bid thee farewell with a sugar-sweet apple 3 . 

1 leave a 'farewell' to the village, 'a farewell ; to the brave lads, 
And to my mother I leave three phials of poison: 4 

One of which to drink at morn, the other at mid-day, 

The third on which to sup at eve, and lay her down and sleep. 6 

1 A variant of the last four lines is given by Passow, No. 618. 

2 Ancient Greek poetry abounds in similar sentiments. Theognis even 
prefers death to loss of youth : 

"Acppoves avdpuTTOt, Kai vrjiriot, olVe davovras 

icXaiova, ovd' tj^tjs avdos diroWtjfJLevov. 1069. Cp. 877. 

3 When the bride leaves her home, her mother hands her an apple which 
she throws back over her shoulder " that she may leave sweet memories behind 
her " (v' a<j>r)(TY) yktiica wlaia rrjs). 

4 Cp. Rennell Rodd, The Customs and Lore of Modern Greece, p. 93. 

5 The poison is, of course, figurative of the mother's grief at missing her 
daughter every hour of the day. 

A. F. 11 

162 Macedonian Folklore 

II. (From Melenik. 1 ) 

'A/co/xa <rr)iA€p* elfxai Sw, Uapaa/cevr), 2a/3/3aTO, 

T^ Kvpiarcr} a d<f>ivov j€id y \ rd eprjfia 0d irdvov, 

®d irdv \ t drjSovta rd iroWd teal \ tov$ %opTpovs tov<; 

N<J 7T€cra> v d7ro/coL/jb7]6wy vd irdpco copav vitvo, 

N' dtcovcr t aTjSopca 7r&)? \dXovv icaX rd irovXvd irco? tckai- 

T\co$ fcarapLovvTCLL rov drjro yid rd /ai/cpd t'? dpTrd^vei • 
"'A^re ft' vd <£a? rd vv%ta crov, rd vvypirohapd aov, 
TIov jm €<f)a<y€<; ro ralpi fjuov diro rrjv djfcaXcd julov, 
Tlov rovj^a Kol r djfcdXca^a /cai to y\vfco<f>(Xov(ra" 

Yet this day I am here, on Friday and Saturday. 

On Sunday I shall bid thee farewell, to the wilderness shall I go. 

I shall go to the flocks of nightingales and to the fat shadows, 

To lay me down and slumber, to snatch an hour's sleep, 

To listen to the nightingales' songs and to the birds' plaints: 

How they curse the eagle for their young ones which he carries off: 

"O eagle, mayst thou eat away thine own claws, thy claws and talons; 

For thou hast eaten my mate from between my arms, 

The mate whom I was wont to fondle and sweetly kiss." 

While the kneading of the cakes is going on in the 
bride's house, the bridegroom, accompanied by his friends, 
calls on the best man and kneeling to him and kissing his 
hand invites him officially to his house. On the same evening 
a pie (Trovydro-a) is sent to the bride, and she breaks it herself 
as a symbol that she has finally and irrevocably accepted him 
as her lord and master. A great banquet ((j>tXtd 2 ) at the 
bridegroom's brings the day's doings to a close. 

In some districts all these ceremonies occur on the Friday, 
while Thursday is spent otherwise : the bride through the 

1 The above version is word for word as I heard it at Melenik. I picked up 
two more versions, one at Nevrokop and another at Nigrita. They both contain 
the bird's plaint to the eagle. For parallels to this idea, see Passow, Nos. 
404 — 407. Another variant will be found in A. A. Tovaiov, *Ta Tpayotidia rip 
HcLTpldos ixov ' No. 166. 

2 Lit. 'friendship' or 'affection.' 

Marriage 163 

KaXecrrpa invites her maiden friends, who, after having danced 
in her house to the strains of music, accompany her to a public 
bath where they all bathe 1 , the expenses being defrayed by the 
bridegroom. Then they return to the bride's house and set 
up another dance. If there is to be a banquet in the evening, 
they stay, and after it a third dance ensues. Later on the 
bridegroom, who has also performed his ablutions with his 
friends and has feasted them, comes with them to the bride's, 
and lads and lasses dance together till morning. If there is no 
banquet they disperse early. 


Friday also is a busy day. In the morning a party of 
youths go forth "for the firewood" (\ ra %v\a) which is to 
be used in the coming feast. This task is performed in true 
Homeric style : 

With proper instruments they take the road, 
Axes to cut, and ropes to sling the load. 
First march the heavy mules securely slow, 
O'er hills, o'er dales, o'er crags, o'er rocks, they go. 


The wood the Grecians cleave, prepaid to burn; 
And the slow mules the same rough road return. 2 

The return journey is accomplished with great pomp and 
circumstance. The procession is led by a horse into whose 
saddle is planted a high pole with a banner flying from it. 
An apple or orange is stuck on the top of the pole, and a 
red handkerchief is tied round it. As they draw near the 
village, they are met by a band of drums and pipes, which 
accompanies them home, and on the way a special song 
is sung. 

In the afternoon takes place the " delivery of the trousseau " 
{irpotKoirapaZoori). The priest, accompanied by some of the 

1 The custom of bathing before the marriage ceremony (irpb yafUK&i') was 
religiously observed by the ancient Athenians, the water for this function being 
drawn from the sacred spring known in the time of Thucydides as Kallirhoe or 
Fair-fountain. (Thuc. n. 15 ; Pollux in. 3. ) 

2 Pope's Iliad xxm. 138 foil. 


164 Macedonian Folklore 

notables of the village (irpofcpiToi), calls at the bride's and 
makes up an inventory of the trousseau (/cdfivovv to Trpoacoavpu- 
(jxovo). The bride's parents and herself affix their signatures, 
or their marks, to the document, and then the trousseau is 
" piled up " {<jTifta%ovv) in a conspicuous place, for the inspec- 
tion and envy of the neighbours. Two hours before nightfall 
various female relatives are invited to come and " turn over 
the trousseau " (yvpl&vp rrj irpoc/ca), that is, to arrange and 
put it back into the boxes, throwing into them sugar-plums 
and wishing that it may be " sweet as sugar " (yavai yXvfceta 
a dp rrj ^a^api)} An old woman is appointed to guard it till 
the next day, when the best man gives her a present, that she 
may allow it to be taken to the bridegroom's. 

The arrangement of the trousseau is accompanied by this 

K.6prj fi rl a rjpOe fxrjpviMa diro rrj ireOepd crov, 
Koprj fju rrf TTpoi/ca a opOcope koX top Sapo a \ov6pba. 
" 'Ey&) ttj 7rpoifcd fM (SpOcocra /cat top Bapo pu \ov6jjucra. 
'Ko/ia to /jba^cXapL p,ov opyd 6a to TTXrjpcDo-co." 2 

My dear maid, a message has come to thee from thy mother-in-law: 
My dear maid, arrange thy trousseau, and thy gifts prepare. 
" I have arranged my trousseau and my gifts have I prepared. 
My bridal pillow still remains; but I shall soon finish that too." 

In the evening, soon after sunset, invitations to the wedding 
(fcaXecr/uLaTa) are issued by the two parties to their respective 
friends. This is done as follows : Two boys, one bearing a 
lantern and the other a flagon of wine (boukla), crowned with 
flowers, and a parcel of cloves wrapt up in paper, are sent 
round to deliver this message : " Take this clove, it is from 
So-and-so. Thou art asked to come to the 'Rejoicing/" (Na 
avTo to yapov<fiaWo, elvai irb top T&he. T^Lcai, /caXeo-fiepo? 

1 v. supra p. 109 n. 

2 ir\r)pdovu) in M. Gr. generally means 'to pay,' but in some parts of 
Macedonia it is used in the sense of 'finishing.' Hence occasionally arise 
amusing incidents: 

Customer : Let me have some wine. 

Tavern keeper : irXrjpoxre (' it is finished ' — none left ; but also) * pay! ' 

Customer: How can you ask me to pay, before giving me the wine? 

Marriage 165 

vap6rj<; \ rrj Xapd.) The person thus invited drinks from the 
flagon, accepts the clove, which is kept, and wishes " long life " 
to the betrothed pair. 


On Saturday the dowry is taken to the bridegroom's. His 
young friends, mounted on their steeds, ride to his house where 
they alight, drink toasts, and set up a dance. Meantime two 
of them gallop ostentatiously through the village on two of 
the horses which are to carry the dowry. Then they return 
to the bridegroom's in order to join their comrades, and the 
whole cavalcade proceeds to the bride's, with presents from 
the bridegroom to her parents and relatives. Having presented 
these gifts, drunk, and danced, they load the horses with the 
trousseau, placing a little boy on each horse. The bridal pillow 
is carried by a boy on foot. He runs ahead, before the pro- 
cession has started, and delivers it to the bridegroom, from 
whom he receives a remuneration. When the trousseau has 
arrived, it is piled up in the courtyard and the bridegroom's 
mother throws sugar-plums upon it from the window. Then 
refreshments are served to the carriers, and singing and dancing 
round the pile follow. 

A barber is subsequently called in, and he shaves the 
bridegroom, surrounded by his friends, with great solemnity. 
I regret that I was not able to obtain a specimen of the songs 
sung on this occasion. 

On the same day the bridegroom sends to the bride the 
flowers, threads of gold (ri\ia or rpal?), veil (a/ciTTTj), fur-lined 
jacket (/cpovaeWa), and cap which she is to wear on the wedding 
day — in a word the whole bridal outfit. These presents are 
called icavLaia. In some districts they are known as Vo#eo-£9. 

In the evening the bridegroom sends to the bride a dinner 
(o SeZirvos), consisting of three or four courses, and a cake 
(k\Ul). The bride in the meantime is kept secluded in a 
room with the bridesmaids, who on hearing that the dinner 
has arrived close the door, crying from within " Not unless 
you pay five (piastres) and a cake" (Me rd irevre /ecu to 

166 Macedonian Folklore 

kKLkl). The cake-bearer, one of the bridegroom's nearest 
kinswomen, pays a sum of money to the bridesmaids and is 
admitted into the room. The bride receives the cake standing 
in a corner and breaks it upon her knee into two pieces. 
During this performance, the male gift-bearers pass into the 
room and partake of refreshments, while the train of youths 
who accompanied them set up a dance in the courtyard outside. 
In this dance joins the bride escorted by her brother, or nearest 
male relative, her head covered with a gorgeous silk kerchief. 
After three turns of the slow and sedate syrtos she retires, 
and the guests depart. On their way back they are met by 
the bridegroom, and they all together, with the band playing 
in front, go and take the best man to the bridegroom's house, 
where they sit down to a banquet. 

A dance follows and lasts till early dawn {jSaOeial? yapaali), 
when the youths, with the band, escort the best man home 
and afterwards wander about the streets serenading (iranvdha). 

A similar 'family feast' {avyyeviicrj) takes place at the 
bride's. The guests in both cases are invited by special 
' inviters,' termed £ bystanders ' {irapaaToXta or irapaaTeicd- 
ixevot), who accompany the invitation to the banquet with a 
cake and a bottle of wine or arrack. 

When the guests are assembled they are greeted by the 
host in these words : 

<£>l\oi fjb, /caXcos ayplcrare, cf)i\oi, fx icr) dycnrTj/jbevot, 
Na <f>a/uu€ rd aapavr dpvid, rd Se/co^rcb tcpidpia y 
Na TTLov/jie to yXvfco Kpa<ri, to fjLoa^ofjbvpio-fievo. 

"My friends, my dearly beloved friends, welcome 
To feast on forty sheep and eighteen rams, 
To drink sweet wine, wine scented with musk." 

To which they answer in chorus : 

*H/-6et9 eSco Bev rjp0afjb€ vd <£a/ze fcal vd 7rtovp,€ y 
r Hfi€L<; <ra<; dyairovo-afie k rjpOafie vd eras Soovfie. 

"We have not come here to eat and drink, 
We have come to see you because of our love for you." 

Marriage 167 

The entertainment is further enlivened by special songs 
called 'Table-Songs' (rpairetyicd) of which the following is a 
fair example : 

Yua Be €9 Tpcnretya apyvpa, vivid ixaXafxaTevia, 
Tpiyvpco yvpco dp^ovres, \ rrj /xearj 6 AecJTroTT;?. 
%dv evXoyovcre k eXeye, adv evXoya teal Xiyei : 
il 'S avrd rd airiria irovpOa\x^ rrrirpa vd /mrj payiarj, 
K?} o voi/coKvprjs tov cnririov iroXXd j^povia vd tyicry" 1 

Behold tables of silver, trays of gold : 
Bound about are sitting lords; in the midst the Bishop. 
He uttered a benediction; in his blessing he said: 
" Of the dwelling wherein we are gathered may not a stone ever crack, 
And the lord of the house, may he live many a year ! " 

The burden of these banquets is not entirely borne by the 
bride's and bridegroom's parents. The guests contribute their 
quota, which consists of ' slaughtered lambs ' {a^a^rd) and 
presents such as cooking utensils, lamps, and the like. To each 
article is affixed a wish, signed with the sender's name, e.g. 
" May they live to grow old, and may God bestow upon them 
the wealth of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" (Na ^rjaovv, vd 
yrjpdaovv fcrj 6 Oeos va tol/9 yapi%Q T °v 'Aftpaafi, ^\<radic /cat 
'Ia/co)/? rd dyaOd). These gifts are handed over to a specially 
appointed steward (/eeWaprf?)? or cellar-man). 

The Wedding Procession. 

At last the day of days has dawned. Early on Sunday 
morning the bride rises and helps to tidy up the home of 
her maidenhood for the last time. Then she sets about her 
own toilet. Her hair is combed and braided by her sisters 
and bridesmaids. Her relatives, who assist at the performance, 
shower upon her silver pieces, which are picked up by the 
maids and preserved as lucky. She is then dressed in the 
bridal attire sent by the bridegroom on the previous day. Her 
head is adorned with gold threads reaching to the knees and 
her face is covered with a long pink veil. One of her brothers 

1 From A. A. Tov<rlou t ' Ta Tpayotidia rrjs Harpidos ^ov,' No. 31. 

168 Macedonian Folklore 

binds a belt round her waist with three knots. When fully 
arrayed, she kisses the hands of all present and with downcast 
eyes demurely steps across the room and takes up her station 
in a corner, specially decorated with a fine carpet and plants 
of the season, chiefly ivy, which is an emblem of perennial 
youth and freshness. This spot is called " The bride's corner " 

The bridesmaids then proceed to place on her head a 
wreath of artificial flowers, singing the while the following 
song : 

"Nv(f>ov8d fA, tl fias fidvLaes /cal 7r\ecd Se' /xas o-fjuirov- 

pi&is, 1 
Ktu Se 7vpt£e£9 vd fia? 8ij}<; firfSe vd fias fMiXYjcrrj^ ; " 
" Ilw? vd yvpCaw vd aa<z Sico teal 7rcos vd Gas [JbLXrjao); 
Mc pdifrave rd fidria fiov fi ivved Xoyiov fierd^i!' 

" Dear little bride, wherefore art thou angry with us and wilt no longer 

speak to us ? 
Wherefore dost thou not turn to look at us, nor talk with us?" 
"How can I turn to look at you, how can I talk with you? 
My eyes are stitched with silk of nine sorts." 2 

The bride in return for these attentions presents each of 
the maids with a crape kerchief (aa/ju) as a symbol of a speedy 
entrance into the married state. 

The bridegroom sends presents to her father, mother, sisters 
and brothers, while she has ready a basketful of gifts for his 
people. These mutual donations consist of articles of dress, 
such as skirts, sashes, silk aprons, slippers, lace collars and 
the like. 

While the performance described above is enacted in the 
young lady's house, the bridegroom also is donning his festive 
attire with his friends' assistance. In some districts it is the 
custom for the groom, as he is being decked out, to stand upon 
the nether stone of a handmill — the appliance used by the 

1 A Bulgarian synonym of the Greek o^tXw (1. 2) c to converse.' 

2 The song alludes to the bride's stiff and silent attitude prescribed by 

Marriage 169 

peasants for grinding grits (TrXrjyovpi). 1 When thoroughly 
equipped he kisses his parents' hands, and they give him their 
blessing. Then he sets out with the priest and the assembled 
guests in procession, headed by a band. On the way he picks 
up the best man who, accompanied by the 'best woman' (his 
wife or mother or sister), joins the train, carrying in his hands a 
flask of wine, decorated with flowers, and a cake, while the 
' best woman ' bears a basket covered over with a silk hand- 
kerchief and containing the wedding wreaths (ra (rrtyava), a 
piece of stuff for a gown, and sugar-plums. Thus escorted the 
bridegroom proceeds to the bride's abode. The following song 
is sung on the way: 

(From Eleutheroupolis. 2 ) 
'FifiTrfj/ca Ve irepifioXi 'ere ftacrtXt/co, 

l$pL(TKCD fCOpT) 7T0V KOlflOVVTCLV fJbOV KCLl flOVa^Tj. 

"EoTeirvJra va ttj (jytkrjaco, Be fie Se^r^/ce, 

MeraSevrepcovco 7rdXc, %a/ioyeA,acre, 

TpeaKaae to icotcvo yeVXi, ical fie fiiXrjore' 

"Ylovcrav, %6ve fi , to yetfi&va opt dppoocTTjaa, 

K' rjpTes Toopa /caXo/caipt irov %apptocrTi)<ja;" 

"He^o? r) fiovv rj /cavfievos, %eva SovXeva. 

£' ecTTecXa yvaXl /cal x T ^ Vi KaL /capafnroyLd, 

Via va (Bd^rj^ Ta fiaXXaKid cr\ Ta £avdd fiaXXid." 

I entered into a royal garden 

And there I found a maid sleeping all by herself. 

I stooped to kiss her; but she spurned me. 

I tried again, and she smiled. 

She opened her rosy lips and spoke to me: 

"Where wert thou, O stranger, during the winter when I was ill, 

1 In Molivo, a village of Lesbos, it was once the custom for the bridegroom 
to stand on a large copper tray — a custom in which a Greek writer sees a remi- 
niscence of the Byzantine Coronation ceremony, in which the new Emperor 
stood on a shield. 2. A. ' AvayvdxiTov, ' Aeo-^ids,' p. 195. This theory, though 
somewhat far-fetched at first sight, tallies well with the phraseology of the 
wedding rites and songs (e.g. <TTe<f>6,vwfxa, dpxovres etc. ) as well as with the regal 
pomp which pervades the ceremony. 

2 A small town on the coast, a little to the west of Cavalla. 

170 Macedonian Folklore 

And thou comest now in the summer when I am recovered ? " 
" Alas ! I was a wanderer, I was working in foreign parts, 
I sent thee a mirror and a comb and dye, 
Wherewith to colour thy dear tresses, thy golden locks." 

By this time the cortege has reached its destination. In 
some districts there takes place a sham fight between the 
bridegroom's and the bride's friends. In most places, however, 
the capture of the bride has dwindled to a mere shadow. 
The bridesmaids shut the door in the bridegroom's face and 
will not open it until he has offered them presents. In certain 
parts the bridegroom's friends are compelled to dance and sing 
to the maids, otherwise the latter refuse to deliver the bride. 

Another trait of the ceremony deserving some notice is the 
rule according to which the bridegroom on n earing the bride's 
house, must throw an apple or a pomegranate over the roof. 
On the meaning of this we shall have occasion to comment at 
a later stage of the proceedings. 

When the bridegroom has gained admittance, he draws near 
the bride, and accepts a glass of wine from the hands of her 
sister, who afterwards ties a fine handkerchief round his neck 
and slaps him in the face. At the same time the bride is 
tying another handkerchief with three knots round the best 
man's neck. 

These tyings may be a relic of the ca,pture custom ; but it 
is more likely that the knots are meant as a device against 
sorcery. For the same reason among the Russians a net " from 
its affluence of knots" is sometimes flung over the bride or the 
bridegroom, and his companions are girt with pieces of net " or 
at least with tight-drawn girdles, for before a wizard can begin 
to injure them he must undo all the knots in the net, or take 
off the girdles." 1 

The magic significance of the girdle is not unknown to the 
Macedonian peasants. In a popular song a love-lorn prince 

Meets on the way two witches, mother and daughter. 
The daughter wist his woe and thus to her mother spoke: 
'Seest thou, mother mine, this youth so worn with care? 

1 Ealston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 390. Cp. G. Georgeakis et Leon 
Pineau, Le Folk-Lore de Lesbos, p. 344. 

Marriage 171 

He loves a maiden fair, but she loves him not.' 

The mother then addressed the prince and thus to him sho spoke: 

' What wilt thou give me, my son, that I may make her consent?' 

'If silver thou desirest take it, or take pearls.' 

* Neither silver do I desire nor even pearls, 

Only the girdle which thou wearest, that thou must give me.' 

He unfastens his girdle and gives it to the witch. 1 

The influence of knots and girdles over matters matrimonial 
is not to be denied or disputed. But a knot is a symbol that cuts 
both ways. In the above instances it is the ' tying' of one that 
safeguards the newly-married pair against sorcery. The belief 
in the ' loosening ' efficacy of a knot or a girdle is equally 
popular. 2 

The two parties then form one procession and set forth on 
their way to the church. 

The bride on leaving her 'corner' makes the sign of the 
cross; when she has reached the threshold of the room, she 
bows three times to the ground — a solemn farewell, — upsets a 
glass of wine with her right foot and moves out of the house 
with feigned reluctance, supported on either side by her maids 
or by her brothers, or, in some districts, by the best man and 
the best woman who, being of the enemy's camp, thus keep up 
the semblance of carrying her off as a captive. So the pro- 
cession moves on, the bride walking slowly with downcast eyes 
(fca/jLapoovei) and stopping to kiss the hands of her elders on the 
way. The bridegroom and his cortege lead the van with the 
band at the head, and the bride's party brings up the rear. 
In some districts this party includes a person carrying a 
gigantic spit with a lamb on his shoulder. Through the din 
of fire-arms, with which the procession is greeted by the 
bystanders, may be heard the voices of the bridesmaids singing: 

1 For the original see A. A. Tov<riov, 'T& Tpayotidia ttjs Harpldos (jlov,' No. 35. 

2 J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. i. pp. 394 foil. The sorcery dreaded 
by Greek married couples usually takes the form of rendering the husband 
incapable of fulfilling his conjugal mission. This is technically called " bind- 
ing." The process by which he is freed from the fetters of witchcraft is termed 
"loosing." Prescriptions for the latter ceremony will be given in the sequel of 
this work. 

172 Macedonian Folklore 

The Faithful Wife. 1 {From Shatista.) 

The dawn has risen and the Pleiades have set. 

The nightingales repair to their pastures and the fair ones to the fountain. 

I take my black steed and go to give him to drink. 

I meet one maid, I meet two, I meet three and five. 

I find a young woman washing her husband's handkerchief. 

I beg her for water to give my black steed to drink. 

Forty cups she gave me; but in the eyes I could not look her, 

But after the fortieth I looked and saw them tearful. 

"What ails thee, my dear girl, wherefore dost thou shed black tears?" 

" I have a husband who is in foreign parts, a husband who is abroad. 

I have waited for him twelve years, I will wait three more, 

And after the three years a nun will I become, 

I will array myself in black, to the convent will I go." 

" I, my dear girl, am thy husband, I am thy beloved." 

" If thou truly art my husband, if thou truly art my beloved, 

Show tokens of my body, tokens of my home." 

"There is a mole between thy breasts, a vine in thy court-yard." 

In some parts of Macedonia it is the custom for the bride 
and the groom to go to the church on horseback. As the 
distance seldom justifies the habit, that may be taken as 
another reminiscence of times when the bride was carried off by 
force on her abductor's steed. In other parts again, especially 
among the Wallachs, a pole with an apple on top and a white 
kerchief streaming from it (<£Xa/z7rou/?o) is carried by a kilted 
youth in front of the wedding procession. 2 

1 This is one of the most wide- spread songs in Modern Greek folklore. 
I myself collected no fewer than six different versions in different parts of 
Macedonia. There is another in the 'TpayotidLa rod '0\ijjj.Trov,' by A. K. 
OlKOvofildrjs, p. 132; also one from Zakynthos in Bernhard Schmidt's Liebeslieder, 
No. 57 (see also references there), and six more in Passow, Nos. 441-6. They all 
agree on the main incident, though they vary widely in the setting, and equally 
in diction. The above I have selected not as the best, but as being the shortest 
of my MSS. 

2 This custom is also common among the Gipsies of Spain. " First of all 
marched a villainous jockey-looking fellow, holding in his hands, uplifted, 
a long pole, at the top of which fluttered in the morning air a snow-white 
cambric handkerchief, emblem of the bride's purity." George Borrow, The 
Zincali, Part n. Ch. vii. 

Marriage 173 

When the procession is within sight of the church the 
following song is sung — a kind of triumphal paean reminding 
the bride that her resistance was in vain : 

The Boastful Partridge. 1 {From Kkvp-Kioi.) 

Mtri irepht/ca TrcuveOrjfce Tov(f>e/ct, Be <f>o/3arcu. 
Xav t' CLKOvae kj} o /evvrjybs ttoXv tov /3apv(f>dv7} • 
Xrijvei rd /Spoked '9 to, fiovvd, rd 'gofiepya '? tovs /cd/jLTrovs, 
Uidvovv rd fipoyia TrepSi/ecus, rd 'goftepya Tpvyoovrjs, 
Kal rovra rd /jbera^cord iridvovv rfjs fiavpofifidry^. 

A partridge boasted that she feared not the gun. 

When the fowler heard that, he was exceedingly offended. 

He spreads his nets over the hills, the lime-twigs on the plains. 

The nets catch partridges, and the lime-twigs turtle-doves, 

And these silken toils catch the black-eyed maids. 

In the Church and After. 

At the entrance of the church the bride halts and bows 
thrice. Then the procession enters and marches up the nave. 

In front of the pair is set a table with the bridal cake 
and a cup of wine upon it, from which the priest prepares 
the holy communion, and administers it to the pair. 

The best man, or his wife, exchanges the w T reaths {aXkd^ovv 
rd crrefyava) which in some places are woven by the bridesmaids 
out of vine twigs, currants, and cotton-seed. In other — less 
primitive — districts they are made of artificial flowers and are 
provided by the best man, or lastly they are silver garlands 
belonging to the church. 2 

While performing this task the best man throws over the 
bride's shoulders the stuff brought in the basket. 

When the drowning' is over, the bride pins bunches of 
a yellow mountain flower (xavrpoXovXovBo, lit. ' bead blossom ') 

1 Cp. Passow, Nos. 493, 494. 

2 The ' crowning ceremony ' (crretpdvajfia) has been borrowed by the Eussians 
who, just as the Greeks, use the word " coronation" (vyenchanie) as a synonym 
for a wedding. 

174 Macedonian Folklore 

on the guests' coats. The parents and all the guests in turn 
embrace the newly-married couple, kissing them on the fore- 
head and wishing them * unbroken felicity * (arepeco/jLeva). In 
some districts these wishes take a quaint turn : " May you 
live, may you grow white and old" (Na Zfjare, v daTrptcrre, 
vd yrjpdare), each wish being accompanied with a jump. In 
the villages near Mount Olympus to the above expressions is 
added " — like Olympus, like Kissavos " (crav rov y 'R\v/n7ro crav 
top Kiaa-afio). 

A bronze ewer (y/ciovfii) and basin (kayfjvo or Xrjyevi), 
which form part of the bride's dowry, are then produced. The 
bridegroom holds the basin, and the bride the ewer, and they 
both help the best man and the best woman to wash their 
hands — a service which is requited with money thrown into 
the basin. 

The bridegroom then takes the bride by the arm, and they 
march slowly and decorously homeward. The crowd which 
lines the streets offers them loud congratulations. On ap- 
proaching the house the bridesmaids burst into song: 

I. (From Thasos.) 

Tea ^eftya, fidva rov yafiirpov teal iredepd ttjs vv<f>i)$, 
Na Stf}$ to yvio <t aravpaero rf) 7repBc/ca irov (frepvec 
'A7ro (f>\ovpl Be (jxtlverac icy dnrrb iiapyapirdpi, 
K17 dtro yaXdtyo tcapmovyd Sev €%ei vd Xvylarj} 
Tafjurpe dgLcorare, 2 vd Xv^V^ v ^ yvp® "!)?* 

1 Var. Ky curb yaXafro Kafnrov<f>e irov \afiirei crav rbv 77X10. 

"For velvet blue which shines like the sun." 
In some versions two more lines are given : 

0<£ <re xwp^cr' cltto top 71/16 <r, cford rbv ayatt^ho o~\ 
Avtos fiava 6V' a %x €L w^«ct, /cat o~v yvtbv dV' rov $x eLS ' 

(A. A. Tovaiov, * Ta Tpayovdia rrjs Uarpidos fxov,' No. 40.) 
"She will sever thee from thy son, thy beloved one: 
He no longer calls thee mother, nor dost thou call him son ! " 

2 Cp. the classical mode of addressing the bridegroom (wpo<r<pchv7)fia) in 
epithalamian songs: "OX/3ie ya/xppt , rifxte y. etc. Sapph. 50, 56; Theocr. 
Id. xviii. 16, etc. The modern epithets <z£ios, d^nbraros etc., which are also 
applied to the sponsor at a baptism and to the best man at a wedding (see 
below Toasts 11. p. 180), seem to be survivals of the Coronation ceremony of the 

Marriage 175 

Trj vv(f>7} itov ae Sdofcafie /ca\d vd ttj KVTrdifls, 
KaXa va ttj GToXi^eaat, ytarl Sev e-% fiijripa. 
YafJLTTpos elvat f3ao~i\,Lfco<? k rj vv(f)7] /xa? /caveWa, 
YafJL7rpo<; etvat /3acrikLfcd<z k rj vv<f>r} fiavT^ovpdva. 
Ko^yUTrapo? irov GTefydvayae elvai ^pvai] \afjL7rd$a. 
XyKGoa, vv<j>7) /n\ to x^P l aov Ka ' 1 K ^ V€ T ° crravpo aov, 
Kai TrepiicaXeL to 0€o, vol £{} to o~Te<f>av6 aov. 

Come forth, mother of the groom and the bride's mother-in-law, 

To see thy young eagle what a partridge he is bringing home ! 

She cannot be seen for gold and pearls, 

She cannot bend for brocade of gold. 1 

Most worthy bridegroom, mayest thou live to a great age, 

The wife we have given thee, be very attentive to her, 

"Watch tenderly over her for she has no mother. 

The bridegroom is basil and our bride cinnamon, 

The bridegroom is basil and the bride sweet marjoram. 

The best man who held the crowns is a taper of gold. 

Lift, dear bride, thy hand and make the sign of the cross, 

And pray unto God that thy partner may live long ! 

II. (From Nigrita.) 

The bride's mother sings : 

Map Kvpdraa avfiiredepa^ tl kccko ore irr\Ka 7(0, 
IC ecrTe^Xe? to aTavparjTO gov, 
Kai jjb€ irrjpe to nrovXi fiov, 
K<zl %avocTT7)v 7] avXr) /xov ; 

Byzantine Emperors. There we find the epithet" A £/<k used in the acclamations 
of the people. It is still used by the Greeks at the Consecration of Bishops, 
who in many respects may be considered as representing in Turkey the old 
secular heads of the Greek nation, and are popularly called by the royal title of 
Despots (Aecnr6rr)s). When the congregation greet a Bishop with the cry 
'Apd£ios, it is time for the unpopular pastor to seek a new flock and pastures 

1 These expressions are not always to be taken as empty hyperboles. They 
often represent reality. But as every peasant cannot afford to deck out his 
daughter in brocade of gold and pearls, these gorgeous articles as well as the 
bridal coronal and girdle are the property of the parish, temporarily used on 
the payment of a fee. So that even the humblest maid can boast of having 
appeared for once in her life in robes fit for a queen. 

176 Macedonian Folklore 

thou fellow-mother-in-law, what harm have I done to thee, 

That thou shouldst send thine eagle 

To snatch away my dear bird 

And to rob my courtyard of its beauty ? 

III. {From Liakkovikia. 1 ) 

Tcopa tov yap/rrpov rj fxava irep^aveverat kcll Xeei* 
TLep(j)av€V€Tat ical Xeev Td> \co yviov icy aXkos Sep ex eL > 
Td> \co yvtbv KTj aXkos Sev e%et, yob '^g) /ecu fiia Ovyarepa 
Too '%g> Koi fxia Ovyarepa, hevrpo e^co '9 rrjv avkrj jjlov, 
Aevrpo eyja '9 ttjv avXrj jjlov, fcvTrapiaac 9 rrj y coved jjlov. 
Updaiva icavei ra <f)vWa, vepoydXa^a XovXovSca, 

Now the groom's mother swells with pride and says : 

I have a son and none else beside me (bis). 

I have also a daughter (bis), 

A tree in my courtyard (bis), 

A cypress in my home. 2 

It brings forth green leaves and sea-blue blossoms. 

The bride on reaching the bridegroom's house bows three 
times low, makes the sign of the cross with butter upon the 
door-post, and then steps over the threshold, right foot 
foremost. 3 

On entering her new home the bride sets her right foot 
upon a ploughshare purposely placed inside the door. This is 
obviously an emblem of plenty, but it may also have a deeper 
meaning, steel in any shape or form being a notorious preserva- 
tive against evil spirits. 

In some parts of Macedonia she breaks upon her own head 
one of the honey cakes and scatters the pieces over her shoulder 
into the yard. In places where two ring-shaped cakes are used 
instead, she throws the pieces of one up the stairs and those of 

1 A. A. Tov<rlov, 'Tot Upayovdia rrjs Harpldos fxov^ No. 41. 

2 Lit. 'my corner.' The corner by the hearth is considered as the most 
important part of the house, with which it is identified and for which it is often 
used as a synonym. On the sacredness attaching to the ' upper corner ' in 
the Russian folk household see Ralston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 135. 

3 This observance has given rise to a proverb « ' ' Throw out thy right foot, 
my bride,' * As though I meant to stay for good ! '" ('P/£e, vixpij /*', to de^l. Hclv 
vax<^ (TKOirb vb. Karaca iroXv!). 

Marriage 177 

the other into the yard. Sometimes these cakes are given to 
her on leaving her fathers roof. In that case she breaks one 
on the way, and the other on entering her husband's house. 
The pieces of the cake are picked up and kept by the bystanders 
for a reason already stated. 

At the foot of the staircase a ewer is handed to the bride, 
and she pours some water on the steps as she mounts them, or 
a jug full of water is placed in her way, and she upsets it with 
her foot. 

The bridegroom's mother and the bride's father, who 
are not present at the wedding, 1 stand the while upon the 
landing and throw upon the couple, as they ascend, sugar- 
plums, rice, cotton-seed, barley, chick-peas, and coins which are 
scrambled for by the urchins. 2 In like manner among the 
ancient Greeks and Romans a bride on entering her new home, 
and thus passing from the patria potestas, was welcomed with 
showers of nuts, figs, sugar-plums, and the like, a custom closely 
associated with the idea of a bargain, as is shown by the fact 
that even newly-bought slaves were treated to similar showers. 3 
The custom survives among us in the rice with which the 
bride is saluted. 

When the pair have reached the topmost step, a woollen 
blanket is spread on the floor with a pomegranate beneath. 
The bride is obliged to stand upon it and crush it with her foot. 
The pomegranate is a well-known symbol of fruitfulness often 
occurring in Eastern folklore, especially Hebrew and Arabic. 4 

When fairly in the hall, the bride bows to her parents-in-law, 
kisses their hands, and receives from them, into her mouth, 
golden pieces which they hold to her between their teeth. 
This is a pledge that nothing but 'words of gold' will ever 

1 Cp. a Suffolk custom: "It is very remarkable that neither father nor 
mother of bride or bridegroom come with them to church." The Book of Days, 
vol. i. p. 723. 

2 Cp. Catull. Epithal. 130 Da nuces pueris; Virg. Eel. viii. 30 sparge, marite, 
nuces, etc. 

3 Aristoph. PL 768; Demosth. 1123. For other references, see Liddell and 
Scott, s. V. /cara%i;(r^ara. 

4 For a typical instance, see ' The History of Prince Codadad and his 
brothers ' in the Arabian Nights. 

A. F. 12 

178 Macedonian Folklore 

pass between them. Then she salutes all the guests, great and 
small, who also give her presents in money. 

When all the guests have partaken of refreshments 
(fC€pd<r/jLaTa), the priest reads aloud the inventory of the 
trousseau, which is then ratified by him and the bridegroom, 
and witnessed by some of those present. It is subsequently 
handed to the bride's father who keeps it carefully, so that in 
the event of his daughter's premature death, he may claim 
back the dowry. Thus these practical peasants, while intent on 
symbolism and allegorical ceremonial, do not lose sight of the 
prosaic realities of life. 

The bride's kinsmen then offer to the bridegroom a cock, 
accompany her parents home with music, and amuse them- 
selves there till evening. 

The bride is shown into a room by an elderly female relative 
and is made to sit on a chair placed for her in a corner by her 
sisters-in-law. As she is sedately strutting to that corner, one 
of the latter holds over her head a loaf of bread with a salt-cellar 
on the top of it. She is surrounded by the best woman and 
other female friends, and they all feast and sing songs together, 
while the bridegroom and his comrades make merry in the hall 
outside, and often become so elevated that they must needs 
express their joy in the form of broken crockery. 

In the midst of this uproar someone rushes downstairs, 
catches the biggest cock in the yard and whirls it round twice. 
Then he flings it off and they all run after it. 

During this banquet many songs are sung : 

I. (From Sochos.) 
Na tyafie va irtovfie v avd^r 6 %opo9, 
Na irovpie va %r)<J rj vv(f>rj ktj 6 fyajjuirpos. 

"Let's eat and drink and shake the room, 
And wish long life to bride and groom." 

II. (From Salonica.) 
M.ap<yapirdp y elv 6 yafnrpbs ical /xaXa/Jba tj vv<fir], 
Ky 07T0L0S tovs iarecjydvcoae iroWd %p6via va ^V a V- 
" A pearl the groom, and golden is the bride ; 
Who held the crowns, long he on earth abide." 

Marriage 179 

After the banquet, late in the afternoon, the guests go out 
with the band and set up a dance in the village 'middle space/ 
leaving the bridegroom to enjoy his bride's society in the 
company of her elderly chaperone. 

Wedding Banquets. 

In the evening a dinner is given at which the bride assists 
veiled. The guests drink different toasts of which the following 
are characteristic examples : 

I. To the newly married couple. 

"Na ^Tjaovv, cT€p€G)fieva, iravra redoia vayovv, Xlyo /cpacrl 
teal 7roXkr) dyaTTTj. 

" May they live long, secure ; may they ever be engaged in feasting ; 
little wine and much love ! " 

II To the best man and the best woman. 

Udvra a%LO<; 6 KaXrjTaTa? tc tj KaXrjfidva. 

" Everlasting honour to them." 

III. To the priest 

K' et? rd iepoTralBia era?. 
" Same luck to your holy children." 

IV. To lay guests. 

K' 669 r dpypvroiraihia <ra<;. 
" Same luck to your princely children." 

V. To the host's family. 

r/ Oaa Kap^oTrarrf^ara '<? rov ISapBapiov rov Kapbiro, roaa 
icaXd vd Scoa 6 deos *9 to airlr irov rpaycohovfjue. 

" As many as are the nail-prints on the plain of the Vardar, even so 
many blessings may God bestow upon the house within which we are 


180 Macedonian Folklore 

The bride pours out wine for the guests, while they sing : 

I. {From Kiup-Kioi.) 

" UepicrTepovSd fju e/nop^rj /cal %a/Aa<y8?) Tpvy&pa, 
*]£ oXop top Koar/Jbov tffAeprj Ve fjueva rjpdes dypia. 
f P/£e tt)v dyptocrvprj aov k eXa KaOov '? to yova p. 
Na fie fcepvqs yXvtco /c petal /cal av va XdfiTrys fieaa, 
' Na, XdfiTTTfS crap top rjXio, pa XdfjbTrrjs crdv to fyeyydpt," 
"11(09 papdeo, /3/oe XefiePTK] fiov, avpio 0d fiyys o£a), 
yf O%co 9 tcl 7raXXi]fcdpta zeal 6d iraipr)6fjs fiirpoaTa tovs' 
Ys^okkipo %€lXl <f>lXrjaa k eftatye to Stfco fiov, 
Me to fjuapTrjXl, fju o~<j)ovyyicr0fca /c e/3ai/r' to fiaPTrfkovhi fi 
2e Tpia iroTafjita TOJirXvpa k efiatyap Ta iroTafiia 
Tpta TT€pGT€povhia Koprj^lrap k eftayfrap Ta pv^ovBta t*5." 

"My pretty pigeon, my low-flying turtle-dove, 
To all the world tame, to me thou hast come wild. 
Cast off thy wildness and come and sit on my knee. 
Pour me out a cup of sweet wine and shine thou in it, 
Shine like the sun, shine like the moon." 
"How can I come, my gallant youth? to-morrow, methinks, thou 
wilt go forth 
Among thy comrades, and amongst them thou wilt boast : 
I have kissed a pair of red lips and mine became red ; 
I dried them on my handkerchief, and my little handkerchief became 

I washed it in three streams and the streams became red, 
Three little doves alighted there, and their little claws also became red." * 

II. (From Liakkovikia?) 

tl *A(j)€PTr] fiov, \ ttj Tpdire^a OeXoo pa ae Tifitjaco, 

Na ae TCfirjaco ^dyapi, fioa%o, teal /capo^vXXi. 

f/ Ocr' do~Tpd *vcu 9 top ovpapo /cal (f>vXX* dirdp' \ Ta BePTpa 

Tocra fcaXd pd Sdoa 6 debs '9 t d<j>epTr) to Tpairefy" 

"'Oct ao~Tpd *pai \ top ovpapo /cal <f>vXX* dirdp '9 Ta SepTpa 
Too* aarirpa %(b8e^ra iyeb, dydirr} jjl, pd ere irdpco. ,y 

1 With this conceit cp. Td dia&yiov (1. 11 foil.) in E. Legrand, Recueil de 
Chansons Populaires Grecques, p. 222. 

2 A. A. Yovciov, * Ta Tpayotidia ttjs Harpidos fiou,' No. 34. 

Marriage 181 

" Aez/ roi^epa, a<j)€VT7j fiov, 7TW9 ^coSeyjres yta /jueva, 
Na yivQ) 7% vd fjbe Traras, yecfrvpi va 8t,a/3aiv7}$, 
Na yivco ^pvaorpdire^a prnpoard '? tjjv dfavrtd aov, 
Na yevco ^pvaoirorrjpo /xe to Kpaal yep,aTo y 
'E<7U z/a 7rlvj}<; to Kpaal nrj '70) z/a Xd/jLirco fiecra" 

Bride: "My lord, I wish to honour thee at this board, 
To honour thee with sugar, musk, and clove. 
As many as are the stars in the sky and the leaves upon the 

So many blessings may God bestow on my lord's board ! " 

Groom: "As many as are the stars in the sky, and the leaves upon the 
So many pieces have I spent, my love, to secure thee." 1 

Bride: "I knew it not, my lord, that thou hadst spent money for me, 
Or I would have become earth for thee to tread upon, a 

bridge for thee to pass over, 
I would have become a golden table before thy lordship, 
I would have become a golden goblet filled with wine, 
That thou mayst drink from it and I shine within it ! " 

In this way the convivial party amuse themselves. Nor 
are the humble musicians forgotten. The guests now and 
again rise from table, fix pieces of money on their foreheads 
and pledge them with bumpers. 

Cooking and eating continue all night promiscuously and 
alternately, so that no one may have reason to complain that 
he was not able " to put off from himself the desire of meat 
and drink." But in the course of the evening, soon after the 
main banquet is over, the bride's father arrives with his own 
guests, and dancing commences. The bridegroom dances at 
the end of the male chain, the best man holding him by the 
right hand, while he clasps his bride's hand with the other. 

1 Extremely curious is the recurrence of folk ideas. Cp. the following note 
from Suffolk: " The bridegroom sometimes considers it his duty to profess that 
he considers the job a very dear one — not particularly complimentary to the 
bride — and once a man took the trouble to pay my fee entirely in threepenny 
and fourpenny pieces ; which was, I suppose, a very good joke ; not so much so, 
however, as when a friend of mine had his fee paid in coppers." The Book of 
Days, vol. 1. p. 723. Is this a survival from the times when a bride was 
purchased in real earnest ? 

182 Macedonian Folklore 

Next after the bride comes the best woman, and then follow 
the bridegroom's kinswomen in due order. Another chain, 
formed by the bride's female relatives, winds its way behind 
the bridegroom's ranks. The dance is a mere matter of form 
and ceases after the third round. The new-comers help them- 
selves to refreshments, and then depart. When the majority 
of the guests have gone, the bride takes off her veil, and 
remains with the flowers and gold threads on her head. To- 
wards morning they all leave, and the band accompanies the 
best man and his female colleague home. 

After the Feast 

On Monday morning the bride enters upon her new duties 
of housekeeper in a manner that emphasizes the state of 
mild servitude, which is the peasant wife's lot in Macedonia. 
She begins by helping all the members of her husband's family 
in their matutinal ablutions (vtyifio), then kisses their hands 
respectfully and prepares their breakfast. They, in their turn, 
give her presents. Later in the day she distributes her bridal 
threads of gold among the little girls of the neighbourhood. 

About noon her nearest relatives call, the bridegroom's 
return the visit, and thence go to the best man's. The band 
of groomsmen, with music, first call on the bride's parents, then 
on the best man and subsequently on the other guests, who 
are invited to another banquet. But they each have to con- 
tribute their shares, chiefly a pie (Trouydraa), a tray of roast 
meat, and a flagon of wine. These dishes and drinks are borne 
to the bridegroom's house by the youths with much solemnity 
and music. The best man is expected to contribute a larger 
share than anyone else, and he generally sends a lamb roasted 
whole, and a jar of wine. In the evening the banquet is spread, 
and all the remnants of it are given to the poor. 

After dinner an invitation is sent to the bride's relatives to 
come and dance with her. The feast lasts through the am- 
brosial night, and the guests do not depart until long after the 
rosy-fingered Morn has spread her saffron-veil over the village 

Marriage 183 

In some places a curious custom is observed on this day. 
The cook, who superintends the culinary department of the 
festivities at the bridegroom's, armed with a huge ladle hanging 
from his girdle sword-fashion, and followed by his assistants, 
comes to the bride's old home. Her father and mother in 
feigned alarm hide away their goods and chattels, and take 
refuge on the hearthstone. But the inexorable cook claims 
money. They refuse to pay. A brawl ensues, and at last the 
old couple are seized and suspended from the beams. They 
then begin to offer fowls, water-melons, wine, and the like, as 
a ransom. But they are not let down until the cook is satisfied. 
This is undoubtedly one more reminiscence of the distant ages 
when such scenes were acted in grim earnest. 

On Tuesday morning the bride presents each of the musicians 
with a kerchief, and each of the groomsmen with a suitable 
gift (Sa/jo?). At midday her nearest relatives assemble, and 
help her make a cake with milk and rice. She stands behind 
a table in the middle of the hall, and as she moulds the dough 
the others dance round her, and at intervals pause to cut it 
with coins. When the cake is ready, it is taken in procession, 
with music, to a public oven. In the evening it is fetched 
home in like manner, and is eaten at dinner. 

On Wednesday the bride, arrayed in her second best apparel, 
and accompanied by two of her husband's nearest kinswomen, 
or by her own mother and mother-in-law, repairs to the village 
fountain. She carries thither a new pitcher, resting upon a 
gorgeously embroidered rug on her left shoulder and held with 
the right hand bent overhead, or, in some districts, two bronze 
ewers. Similar vessels are borne by her companions, and the 
procession looks not unlike a representation from an old Greek 
vase ; one of those living pictures which are as common in 
Hellenic countries at the present day as they were in the time 
of Apelles. Into these vessels are thrown cloves, flowers, or 
wheat and barley, and coins, which are then poured out into 
the fountain as propitiatory offerings to the presiding nymph. 
The vessels are washed, filled with water, and emptied outside 
the entrance of the house. This act is repeated thrice at three 
different fountains in succession. 

184 Macedonian Folklore 

On Thursday the bride " is churched " (iKfc\r) (redder at), that 
is, she attends divine service for the first time in her new 
capacity as a married woman. Early in the morning married 
relatives escort her to church (ftyd&vp ttj vv$t) '<? rr]v e/e- 
/expend), and after matins accompany her back home, where 
refreshments are served. 

On Friday evening she goes to her mothers home and has 
her hair washed by her with water medicated with yellow 
flowers and walnut leaves, purposely gathered and dried. The 
bridegroom joins her later, and the newly- wedded pair stay to 
dinner and remain there till Sunday. This visit is termed a 
' Return ' or ' Counter- Wedding ' (i7rio-rp6<f)ia, Tnarpofyifcia, 
aTToyvpio-fia, or avriya/jLO?). On Sunday, at midday, they are 
fetched back by the bridegroom's father and closest relatives 
of both sexes. 

Eight days after the same ceremony takes place at the best 
man's, where a banquet is spread, songs are sung, and gifts 
exchanged. This is the conclusion of the Macedonian peasant's 
marriage festival. In many of its details it bears a strong 
analogy to the Albanian wedding, 1 and on the whole differs 
little from the corresponding customs prevalent in Southern 
Greece. 2 

Songs sung at the 'Return' Banquets. 

I. f O <j)v\aKi<r/jL€vo<; k rj T$a(riXo7rov\a. 

(From Eleutheroupolis). 

'2 rf) ftpvert, irrjya ytd vepo, icpvo vepo vd Trdpw 
3ap€id dSi/cca fi efiyaXav 7ra>9 <j>fcr}<ra /copdai. 
Ma '7a) fiavpos Se' rS^epa '9 rd pbdrta Se' ro elSa. 
'2 rrj <f>v\a/cr) /jue pl^ave Bed rpidvra fie pais 
Kal irapawea-av rd /eXetSut, Kavw rpidvra xpovta, 

1 See descriptions of the latter in Hahn, Albanesische Studien, and in 
Auguste Dozon, Contes Albanais, pp. 189 foil. 

2 A short sketch of the Thessalian folk marriage is given in Songs of 
Modern Greece, pp. 90 foil. See also Rennell Rodd, The Customs and Lore 
of Modern Greece, ch. iii., and cp. ' Marriage Superstitions and Customs ' in The 
Book of Days, vol. 1. pp. 719 foil. 

Marriage 185 

K' eicava 7T^€9 rd fjuaXXid zeal iruOafial^ ra vvyia. 

Ae(f>TOKaptdv€ eo-iretpa '<? rf}? (j>vXaKrjs ttj rropTa 

Kal \e<j>To/cdpva e<j>aya fid Xevrepid Sev elBa. 

MoV fiid A.afJbirprj f fiid Kvpia/crj, pud y THo~7)fi7} rj^iepa, 

®v/jL7]8r)/ca rd veidra fiov Kal rrj TraXXrjKapid fiov, 

K?} dp^ivrjaa vd rpayovBco \ Tr)$ <f>v\a/cr)s rrj Tropra. 

Bao~iXo7rovXa jjl aKovaev diro yfrrjXo iraXdrf 

" Ilofco? eiv avro? ttov rpayovBel *<? rrj? (f>vXaKr}$ rrj iropra ; 

Na top yapicr ivved ytopid Kal heKairevre Kacrrpa" 

" Ae' OiXco 'ycb rd 'wed %copi,d y ovre rd heKairivre Kaarpa, 

MoV OeXco to KopfJuaKi T7/9 vd to a^L^TayKaXido-eoJ' 

The Prisoner and the Princess. 

I went to the fountain, to draw cool water. 

They brought against me a heavy charge : that I kissed a maid, forsooth. 

I, the hapless one, knew her not, had never seen her with my eyes. 

They cast me into prison for thirty days. 

But the keys were mislaid, and I remained there thirty years. 1 

My hair grew yard-long, my nails span-long. 

I planted a hazel-tree at the prison gates, 

I tasted hazels therefrom, yet freedom I tasted not. 

But on a Bright Day, on a Sunday, on an Easter Day, 

I bethought me of my past youth and of my youthful prowess, 

And I began to sing at the prison gates. 

A Princess heard me from a lofty palace: 

" Who is he that sings at the prison gates ? 

I will grant him nine villages and fifteen castles." 

"I wish not for thy nine villages, nor for thy fifteen castles, 

But I wish for thy beauteous body, to clasp it in mine arms ! " 

II. C H KafC07ravTp€fAevr). 

(From Zichna and Pravi) 

Isldva fju fie KaKOTrdvTpeyfres Kal fi ISco/ce? \ tov$ Kafiirov^. 
'E^yo) V to Kajxa Se' /3aar(o, vepo £eo"TO Se* Trivto, 
'ESw Tpvyovia Se' XaXovv k oi kovkkoi Se' to Xeyovv, 
To Xev oi BXd^ot '? to Ifiovvo, to Xe*v crdv fJivpcoXoyi' 

1 With the incident of the lost keys and consequent undue prolongation of 
imprisonment cp. E. Legrand, Recueil de Chansons Populaires Grecques, No. 145, 
the opening lines. 

186 Macedonian Folklore 

" IIo609 e^' avTpa '? rrj %€viT€ia, fiLKpa Trachea \ rd geva, 
II 69 rat? vd firjv rot/9 fcaprepovv, vd fjurjv rov<? irepty^kvovv. 
"Bfjvra Kapdfita /3ov\ca%av \ r^9 TL6\r}<; rd Mirovydfya 
Tiw/Mtoa r\ ddkaaaa iravtd, k r/ a/cpais rraWrj/cdpia. 
KXaiyovv rj p,dvacs yid nrathid k fj yiqpais yid tovs avrpes" 

The Unhappy Bride. 

Mother mine, thou hast wedded me ill, in giving me away to the lowlands. 

I cannot bear the heat, warm water I cannot drink. 

Here are no singing turtle-doves, the cuckoo is not heard here, 

The shepherds sing on the hills, they sing a mournful lay : 

" Who have husbands abroad, little children in foreign parts, 

Tell them to expect them not, to wait for them no more: 

Sixty ships have sunk in the Straits 1 of the Great City 2 , 

The sea is covered with rent sails and the shores with the dead swains. 

Mothers weep for their children, and widows for their husbands." 

Adopted Brothers. 

In some districts of Macedonia the bridegroom's comrades, 
who play so important a rdle throughout the marriage fes- 
tivities, are his 'adopted brothers' (dhepfyonroiToi, aravpahepfyoi, 
ftXapLiSes, or prrrpaTijioi). The custom of forming fraternal 
friendships, once very common in the Balkan Peninsula, is now 
dying out ; bat in some parts it is still kept up. A number of 
youths enter into a solemn compact to aid each other in all 
circumstances even unto death. The relationship thus con- 
tracted is more sacred than natural kinship. Nor is it confined 
to one sex. Three or four ' brothers ' sometimes agree to take 
an orphan girl and adopt her as their ' sister ' (/jltt par/jbiv a). 
The ceremony takes place in the church. The parish priest 
sanctifies the compact by administering the sacrament to them 
and binding them together with a blessed or ' holy belt' {ay La 

1 The Bosphorus. 

2 Constantinople. It is interesting to recall that these are the straits 
dreaded by the ancient mariner as the site of the Justling Rocks (at Suju- 
ir\7}ydde$), which, according to the fable, closed on all who sailed between them 
on their way to the Inhospitable Sea, In historic times there stood on the 
Asiatic shore a temple dedicated to Zeus Ourios or ' Giver of fair winds,' in 
which voyagers to the Black Sea were wont to register their vows. 

Marriage 187 

Zdovri) wound round their waists. The damsel henceforth looks 
upon the youths as her brothers, washes their clothes for them, 
and ministers to their comforts, while they, on their part, are 
bound by their vow to protect her and finally to contribute 
towards her settlement in marriage. 

The name fjuTrpaTi/jbos is of Slav origin. The same custom 
prevails among the Albanian tribe of the Mirdites, where the 
ceremony of initiation is practically the same. 1 The name 
given to the 'brothers' in Albania is pobratim, the same as 
among the Servians. 2 

Right and Left. 

In treating of the superstitions concerning Birth, we have 
noticed that the favourites of Fate are believed to have been 
blessed in infancy with her right hand, and the unfortunate 
ones with her left. In the wedding ceremony also, the bride 
is bound to enter her husband's dwelling right foot foremost 
for luck. These are only two of a great number of examples 
of the widespread association of ideas which connects right and 
left with good and evil respectively. Further instances abound 
among the Macedonians, as well as other members of the Greek 
race. " May things, turn out right " (dfiirore vapBovv Se^cd) is a 
common wish. The Holy Virgin is sometimes worshipped under 
the name of ' Right-handed ' (Uavayla &€%id or Ae£a), and is 
depicted carrying the Child in her right arm. To her are 
offered up prayers by all those who are about to embark on 
a new enterprise, " that she may conduct it to a right, that is, 
auspicious issue " (ycd vd yu,a<? ra 4>eprj §e£m). 

The idea was extremely common among the ancient Greeks, 
as the use of the words 'right' (Se^o?) and 'left' {atcato^) in the 
sense of ' lucky ' and ' unlucky ' shows. A bird was " of good 
omen " if it flew on the right, that is from the East, the reverse 
if it flew from the left. Wine and lots were handed round 
from left to right (eVSe^a), and a beggar begging round a table 

1 Tozer, Researches in the Highlands of Turkey, vol. i. pp. 309 foil. 

2 Among the Slavs of the North, this "mutual brotherhood by adoption " is 
known as pobratimstvo. See Kalston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 217. 

188 Macedonian Folklore 

ought to move from left to right. 1 Among the Romans similar 
ideas prevailed, dexter and laevus 2 being the equivalents for 
' propitious ' and the opposite. 

The same idea is found underlying the Celtic folk-belief in 
Deiseal, that is, doing everything with a motion from left to 
right, 3 and the German rechtshin. Moreover, German folk-lore 
contains a rule forbidding getting out of bed left foot first, as 
of ill omen 4 — a superstition likewise expressed in the English 
phrase i( getting out of bed wrong foot foremost," and still 
entertained in many parts of the English-speaking world. 5 

In addition to classical and modern civilized nations, as 
might be expected, we meet with the same idea among savage 
races. Like the ancient Greek and Roman augurs, the modern 
savage interprets the flight of birds as boding good or evil, 
according as it is on his right or left. 6 

Other superstitions connected with marriage. 

It is not good to sit on the door-step, or the match-maker, 
who may perchance be coming, will turn back. 

A newly-wedded woman is not allowed to sweep the floor 
of her house during the first week, lest she should " sweep 
members of her husband's family out of this world" — an idea 
derived from symbolic magic. 

She is also forbidden to look upon a corpse, or to assist 
at a wedding. The first act, it is believed, will bring death 
into her own household ; the second will cause separation by 
death or divorce to the pair who are just joined in the bonds 
of matrimony. 

Rain during a wedding is considered a good omen : it bodes 
prosperity and fertility on the principals of the ceremony. It 

1 Horn. II. i. 597; vn. 184; Od. xvn. 365. 

2 This Latin word survives in Western Macedonia. At Shatista they call a 
left-handed person \id/3os. 

3 J. G-. Campbell, Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 
p. 229. 

4 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 85. 

5 Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 85. 

6 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 120. 

Marriage 189 

is with a like intent that the bride is made to overturn a vessel 
containing water, or to besprinkle the stairs, on stepping into 
her new home, as has been noticed already. But in some 
districts, if it rains during the ceremony, it is said that the 
bride is in the habit of crying 1 or that the newly-married pair 
in their childhood used "to lick the frying-pans'' (eyXv^yav 
ra rrjydvia).* 

Unlucky Days. 

The world-old and world-wide belief in unlucky days, known 
to the ancient Greeks as airofypahes r/fiepat and to the Romans 
as dies nefasti, survives in Macedonia. Indeed, nearly all the 
days of the week, except Sunday, are considered bad for some 
occupation or other, differing only in the degree and direction 
of their badness. 

Monday. Married people must abstain from paring their 
nails on this day. If one of them does so, the other will die. 

Nor is it advisable to pay debts on a Monday, or they will 
be doubled (Bevrepcovovv). 

Tuesday, as a bad day, corresponds to the Western super- 
stition regarding Friday. 

It is unlucky to make purchases on a Tuesday, especially 
to buy a trousseau. No dress — certainly no bridal gown — is 
cut out on this day, nor any enterprise or journey entered upon. 

Some explain the superlative ill-luck attending this day as 
being due to the fact that Constantinople fell on a Tuesday. 3 

1 Cp. in America, "If it rains on the wedding, the bride will cry all her 
married life." Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 61. 

2 A. A. Yovaiov, ''H Kara rb Hdyyacov Xwpa,' p. 74. 

3 This is historically true. Constantinople was taken by the Turks on 
May 29th, 1453, on the Third day of the week. The event is commemorated 
in the following old ballad : 

'0 Oavaros tov KcovaravrLvov Apayafr). 
'2 r<x ^tXict TeTpcLtcbaia Kal 's tcl TrevrjVTa rpia, 
'HfjUpq, Tplrr}, rod Mal'ov 's rais e?KO(n ivvta, 
'J&iTTipav ol ' A7 aprjvoi ttjv KcovcrTavrivov ir6\iv. 
The Death of Constantine Dragazi. 
In the year one thousand four hundred and fifty- three, 
On a Tuesday, the twenty-ninth of May, 
The sons of Hagar took Constantine's City. 
E. Legrand, Recueil de Chansons Populaires Grecques, No. 48. 

190 Macedonian Folklore 

The fall of the ( City ' being justly regarded by the Macedonians 
and the rest of the Greeks as the fount and origin of all their 
national woes, and the day on which it occurred as a black- 
letter day in their annals. 

Wednesday and Friday. These two days are considered as 
relatively holy. During Lent, the fast is severer on these two 
days. Those who are religiously inclined observe them through- 
out the year as fasting days, that is, they abstain from meat. 
It is generally held unlucky to pare the nails on either of them. 
Clothes are not washed on a Wednesday, and on a Friday 
neither clothes nor their owners must come in contact with 
water. Women in childbed are especially warned not to in- 
dulge in ablutions on a Friday. The following rhymes embody 
this superstition : 

Terpdhr] zeal Tiapacricevrj ra vvx La <T0V f JL V v xoyfrys. 
Tt) l&vpiarcr) firjv Xov^rjcrat 1 civ diXys va irpOKO^rrja;. 

On Wednesday and Friday forbear to cut thy nails. 2 
On Sunday wash thou not, if thou wishest to prosper. 

It will be seen that they are here compared in sacredness 
to Sunday itself. How much of the modern Greek's veneration 
for Friday is a remnant of the Roman respect for the " Day of 
Venus " it is difficult to say. It is worth while, however, to note 

1 Var. /xr?*> £ovpurTrjs, " do not shave." 

2 The superstition is as old as Hesiod, who in his allegorical style warns us 

On the goodly feasts of the gods not to cut from the five-pointed 
The dry from the quick with flashing iron. 
W. and ZX, 742 — 3. Cp. also Pliny's directions regarding nail- and hair-cutting. 
The Nones are good for the former, the 7th and the 29th day of the month for 
the latter operation. Nat. Hist, xxvni. 2. And the old English rhymes on the 
subject of nail-cutting : 

A man had better ne'er been born 

Than have his nails on a Sunday shorn. 

Gut them on Monday, cut them for health; 

Cut them on Tuesday, cut them for wealth; 

Cut them on Wednesday, cut them for news; 

Cut them on Thursday, for a pair of new shoes; 

Cut them on Friday, cut them for sorrow; 

Cut them on Saturday, see your sweetheart to-morrow. 
The Book of Days, vol. i. p. 526 ; and Sir Thomas Browne's remarks on it. 
Cp. Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 144. 

Marriage 191 

that the Slavs also hold similar occupations as sinful on that 
day. According to an old tradition " it is a sin for a woman to 
sew, or spin, or weave, or buck linen on a Friday." 1 

It is needless to refer to the mythological significance of 
the Teutonic * Freya's Day ' or the Roman Dies Veneris, whence 
the Germanic and the Latin races derive their respective 
names of this day of the week, and partly their superstitious 
dread of it. 2 

Whatever may be the origin of the sacred character of 
Friday in the eyes of the modern Greeks, there can be little 
doubt that Wednesday owes its privileged place to Christian 
influence ; Wednesday, like Friday, having been early asso- 
ciated by the Church with some of the most tragic events in 
the life of Jesus Christ. 

Saturday. It is unlucky to finish any work, especially a 
wedding dress, on a Saturday; the end of the week being 
considered as in some way connected with the end of the 
owner's life. 

It is equally unlucky to cut out a new dress, lest the life of 
the person for whom it is intended should be cut short. 3 

1 Ealston, Russian Folk-Tales, p. 199. 

2 How far-reaching this superstition is, is shown by the fact that even the 
Brahmins of India share in it. They say that "on this day no business must 
be commenced." Dr Buchanan, Asiat. Res., vol. vi. p. 172 in The Book of Days, 
vol. i. p. 42. 

3 On lucky and unlucky days generally cp. Memoirs of the American Folk- 
lore Society, vol. iv. pp. 79, 144 foil. 



In the funeral rites of the modern Macedonians can still be 
discerned vestiges of primitive ideas concerning death, and the 
state of the soul after death. These beliefs and practices may 
be said to connect the present with the past, on one hand, 
and the remnants of an ancient civilization with contemporary 
savagery, on the other. Many popular observances, which are 
here kept up as mere matters of traditional ceremonial, find 
their true interpretation in like observances among races in 
a lower stage of culture. It is only by investigating the latter 
that we are enabled to recover the half-forgotten meaning of 
the former. In other words, what in Macedonia are but the 
lifeless fossils of old superstition, embedded in the new religion, 
can, by comparison with analogous specimens still living else- 
where, be reconstructed into something resembling their original 

The operation, however, is far from being an easy one, 
and it is rendered all the more difficult by the multitude and 
diversity of the extraneous elements, which in the course of ages 
have accumulated round these remnants, have been assimilated 
by them, and have often disguised them to a degree which 
defies all attempts at analysis and classification. As will be 
seen, some of the ceremonies described in the sequel are a 
continuation of Hellenic or Roman ritual, but slightly affected 
by Christianity ; others can be connected with the practices of 
the Slav populations who, on being admitted into the com- 
munion of the Greek Church, retained a great deal of their 

Funeral Rites 193 

pagan forms of belief and helped to modify classic tradition — a 
process facilitated by the close similarity of their own early 
culture with that of the early Greeks and Romans. Yet, both 
classes of ceremonies, whether directly traceable to a classic or 
to a Slavonic origin, bear a strong likeness to ceremonies in 
vogue among races with which neither the civilized Hellene 
nor the homely Slav ever came in contact. 

It is precisely from this point of view that an attempt can 
be made to establish the relation of Macedonian belief and 
custom to savage culture, and thus assign to the former their 
proper place in the field of universal folklore. 

The lying in state. 

After confession and absolution, the dying partakes of the 
sacrament. When he is breathing his last, or, to use the local 
phrase, when " his soul is breaking out of his mouth " (ftyaivei 
V ty v XV T0V or tyvxoppayel 1 ), only one or two of the nearest 
relatives are allowed to remain by the bedside. Upon them 
devolves the duty of closing the eyes and mouth of the deceased. 
As soon as the latter has given up the ghost, the face is 
sprinkled with a piece of cotton wool soaked in wine — a 
dwindled remnant of the ancient custom of washing the body. 
He is then arrayed in his best clothes or in a brand-new dress 
(dWd&vv top iredafievo). If he is betrothed or newly married, 
the wedding wreath is placed on his head. In the case of 
young women and children, their heads are crowned with 
flowers, and flowers, occasionally mixed with sugar-plums, are 
also scattered over the body. In some districts, Charon's penny 
is still put under the tongue or in the lap of the deceased. 

1 Cp. the idiom ^ ttj ^/vx^l 's ret dbvTia, " with, the soul between one's teeth," 
i.e. to be at one's last gasp. This is one of the many popular expressions to 
be found in many languages, all pointing to the prevalent idea that the soul 
at death escapes through the mouth. On this subject see J. G. Frazer, The 
Golden Bough, vol. i. p. 252. It may be interesting to note here that in Modern 
Greek the word ^v%V "soul" is often used by the ignorant to denote that 
which we call "stomach"; for instance, a Greek will say jjl£ irovei rj \pvxh & n( l 
clap his hands over his stomach in a manner which shows that his ailment is 
not of a spiritual nature. Hence yj/vxbirovos = Koikbirovos. 

A. F. 13 

194 Macedonian Folklore 

This is, of course, a survival of the Hellenic custom of 
providing the dead with the ferry-boat fee, and has no direct 
relationship with the similar practice of Western peasants. 
The money offerings to the dead in Germany, France, and 
other parts of Europe are intended to furnish the spirit of the 
departed with the means of buying refreshments on his weary 
journey. 1 

Thus arrayed and provided for,^ the corpse is laid out facing 
East^-the head and shoulders resting upon a cushion, the hands 
folded upon the breast — and is covered over with a winding 
sheet or shroud {aaftavov). Three candles are lit, two at the 
head and one at the feet. All these duties are usually per- 
formed by the nearest female relatives and not by paid strangers, 
except when unavoidable. / The same relatives also watch and 
bew r ail the dead. The body is especially watched lest a cat 
should jump over it, and that for a reason to be explained later. 

The laments or dirges (fjuvptoXoyia) in some cases are im- 
provised by the mother, wife, or sisters of the deceased; in 
others, they are sung by professional waiiers (fivpioXoylaTpcus), 
who make a business of composing or committing to memory 
suitable songs, and are paid for their mournful labour in food, 
rarely in money. In the majority of cases it is some old 
woman, who has" witnessed many a funeral in her own family 
and has, by bitter experience, acquired the gift of fluency, who 
volunteers to sing the dirge. If the deceased is a youth or 
damsel, the laments are sung by young maidens. But in all 
cases the best of the waiiers, or the most nearly related to the 
deceased, leads the dirge, in which the other women join with 
a refrain ending in exclamations of ah ! ah ! 

It is almost superfluous to refer for parallel cases to the 
0pr)VG)Sol of the ancient Greeks and the praeficae of the Romans. 
Yet anyone who has assisted at the funeral lamentations of the 
modern Greeks, whether in Macedonia or in Greece proper, 
cannot but have recalled to mind the pathetic picture of the 
Trojan women wailing over the body of Hector. 2 The very 

1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 494. 

2 II. xxiv. 720 foil. 

Funeral Rites 195 

words used by Homer (" she led their sore lament ") are illus- 
trated in a forcible manner by these modern performances. 1 

The following song is perhaps the most wide-spread of all 
traditional dirges. In my wanderings through Macedonia I 
collected four different versions from Melenik, Nigrita, Kozani, 
and the island of Thasos respectively. 

I give below a translation of that one of my copies which 
bears the least resemblance to published versions. 2 

All the mothers were sending off their sons to prosper, 

Except one mother, a bad mother, Yanni's mother. 

She sat at the window and uttered bitter curses: 

" Go to foreign lands, Yanni, and mayst thou never return home ! 

The swallows will come back year after year, 

But thou, Yanni, mayst thou never appear, never return home ! " 

" Hush, my dear mother, hush ! curse thou me not ! 

There will come round, my mother, the Feast of St George, the holiest 

day of the year, 
And thou wilt go, my mother, to church, thou wilt go to worship, 
And there thou wilt see maids, thou wilt see youths, thou wilt see the 

gallant lads, 
Thou wilt see my own place empty and my stall tenantless, 
And thou wilt be seized with remorse and shame of the world ; 
Thou wilt take thy way over the hills and through the woods, 
To the sea-shore thou wilt descend, and of the seamen thou wilt ask: 
'0 seamen, my dear lads, and ye friendly clerks: 
Have you seen my dear Yanni, my right noble son ? ' 
' Lady, there are many strangers in foreign lands and 1 know not thy son. 
Show tokens of his body; what was he like?' 
1 He was tall and slender and had arched eyebrows, 
And on his off-finger he wore a betrothal ring.' 
'We saw him, lady, stretched upon the sand. 
Black birds devoured him and white birds circled over him. 
Only one sea-bird paused and wailed : 
Ah ! perchance he had a mother ; perchance he had a wife ! ' " 

1 Professional crieresses (PlakaVshchitsa or VopUnitsa) are also employed by 
the Russians, and their funeral waitings (Zaplachki) bear a strong analogy to 
the Greek /jLvp(i)o\6yia. See Ralston, Songs of the Russian People, pp. 332 foil. 

2 See Bernhard Schmidt, Nos. 67, 68 (from the Ionian Islands) ; Passow, 
Nos. 343 — 349 ; Chassiotis, No. 18 (from Epirus) ; Jeannarakis, No. 195 ; 
Legrand, Recueil des Chansons Populaires Grecques, No. 123, etc. 


196 Macedonian Folklore 

II. {From Cavalla. 1 ) 

Wlia fidva iivpioXoyae yid top fiovd/cpifio ttjs' 

" Tiaihdici fjuov top ttovo gov teal irov pa top ipi^oy ; 

Na top ipl>%(0 \ to ifiovvo rov iraipvovv rd irovXaicia, 

Na top epi^o) '<? top yiaXo top Tpcoyovp Ta yjrapd/cia, 

Na top ipilja) BiaTparo Od top ttcltovv 8ia(3aTac<;. 

V A<? top ipl^(o '9 T7] Kaphid iroftpai ye/juaTT) 7topov$, 

Na fcdOovfiai crap ere 7ropco, pa yeppco crap pie acf>d^rj, 

Xdp 7re<f>T(o '? to 7rpoaK€<pa\o pa Xa^Tapco top vttpo." 

Kt} 6 Xapo9 ^irrfKoyrjOrjice, tcrj o Xdpo$ TnfXoyaTai • 

<iT, OXop top Kocrpbo yvptcra, tt) 77)9, ttjp oiKOVfjuipT) 

K' elSa fiapabes \ top y/cprjpupo, e2S' d$ep(f)at<z '9 top ftpd^o, 

Yvpalrces tcop koXojp dpTpwp 9 ttjp oacpt] '<? Ta TroTafiia. 

Ma irdXi %apairepaaa crvpapTTj/jua tov %p6pov, 

K' elha puavdhes \ top yppo, elS* dSepcf)al<; '9 top ydfjuo, 

TvpaifC€<z tcop /caXwp dpTpcop \ Ta J /j,op<f)a 7rapr\yvpia? 

MaTaKta irov hep yXeiropTai yXijyopa XrjapbOPovPTac. 

The Mothers lament 

A mother was lamenting her only son: 

"My darling child, my grief for thee where shall I cast it? 

If I cast it on the mountains, the little birds will pick it, 

If I cast it into the sea, the little fishes will eat it, 

If I cast it on the highway, the passers-by will trample it under foot. 

Oh, let me cast it into my own heart which swells with many sorrows, 

Let me sit down with my pain, lay me down with my pangs, 

And, when I rest my head upon my pillow, pine for sleep ! " 

Death made answer to her, Death answered thus : 

"Over the world have I wandered, over the universal earth; 

I have seen mothers on the brink of the precipice, sisters on the edge of 

the rock, 
And wives of brave men on the margin of the stream. 
Yet once more I went that way, in the course of the meeting years, 

1 This dirge was dictated to me by M. J. Constantinides of that town, a 
gentleman well-versed in folklore and himself a poet of merit. He described it 
as of Epirotie origin. 

Funeral Rites 197 

And lo ! I beheld the mothers in the dance, the sisters in the wedding- 
And the wives of brave men in the merry fairs." 

Eyes which are not seen are soon forgotten. 1 

These laments are also repeated round the grave before the 
coffin is lowered into it. 

The funeral. 

The corpse is never kept for more than twenty-four hours, 
and seldom even so long. As a general rule the funeral takes 
place on the day after death. At the moment when the coffin 
is carried out of the house, the women break forth into loud 
piercing cries (^(pcovdyfjuaTa). Those amongst them who have 
recently lost a relative bid the newly-departed bear greetings 
(xaipeTTJfjLdTa) and affectionate messages to their friend in the 
other world. Some of them also thrust an apple, or a quince, 
or some other kind of fruit, between the feet of the dead. This 
gift may be regarded either in the light of an offering to the 
departed, to serve as food on the way to Hades, or as a gift 
committed to his care and meant for the relative who preceded 
him on the dread journey. Objects dear to the deceased are 
also frequently placed in the coffin and buried with the body, 
such as a child's playthings, a young scholar's books and 
inkstand, or a maiden's trinkets. 

Now, it is not clear to the spectator, and hardly to the 
performers themselves, what is the motive which prompts these 
touching acts. If a by-stander is questioned, he will most 
likely explain them as befitting tributes of affection, or as the 
results of custom handed down from "olden times." Never- 
theless, it is not unprofitable to compare these customs with 
similar practices, prevailing in countries where an adequate 
motive can still be assigned to the action. Both the messages 
and the offerings delivered to the dead are well known among 
savages. The natives of Guinea, for example, are in the habit 
of sending messages to the dead by the dying, while the 

1 This verse is a popular proverb, corresponding to our own " Out of sight 
out of mind," the French " Loin des yeux, loin du coeur " etc. 

198 Macedonian Folklore 

offering of fruit and other articles figures in the funerals of 
innumerable nations. In many cases these offerings can be 
proved to be the outcome of a widely-held belief according to 
which objects considered by civilized man as inanimate are by 
the savage and barbaric mind endowed with a soul which, on 
the dissolution of the objects in question, either by fire or by 
the decomposing influence of the earth, is set free and at the 
disposal of the disembodied spirit. This belief is again con- 
nected with the similar, and to the ordinary European more 
intelligible, superstition which is responsible for the sanguinary 
sacrifices of human beings and animals, prevailing in ancient 
times among the Greeks, as is shown by Homers description of 
the burial of Patroklos 1 ; among the Thracians, who slaughtered 
the favourite wife of the deceased over his tomb 2 ; among the 
Gauls, Scandinavians, and Slavs ; and in more recent times 
among the nations of America and Eastern Asia, especially 
India, where it assumed the well-known form of widow-burning; 
a practice which is still carried on by the aborigines of Africa 
and elsewhere 3 

How closely the kindly ceremonies of the modern Mace- 
donians are related to these ferocious funeral rites, and how 
far they owe their origin to a long- forgotten doctrine of object 
phantoms, it is too late in the day to establish with certainty. 
Yet one thing can safely be asserted, namely, that they are 
based on beliefs never taught or countenanced by the Christian 

When the coffin is borne out of the house, an earthenware 
vessel, or a tile, is thrown and smashed after it. With this 
practice may be compared the custom of the Russian Chuwashes 
who "fling a red-hot stone after the corpse is carried out, for 
an obstacle to bar the soul from coming back," and of the 
Brandenburg peasants who " pour out a pail of water at the 
door after the coffin to prevent the ghost from walking." 4 A 
still closer parallel is to be met with in parts of Russia, where 
"after a man's body has left the house his widow takes a new 

1 II. xxiii. 170 foil. 2 Hdt. v. 5. 

3 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. pp. 458 foil. 

4 lb. vol. ii. pp. 26, 27. 

Funeral Rites 199 

pitcher and breaks it to pieces on the earth, and afterwards 
strews oats over the ground traversed by the funeral proces- 
sion/' 1 In all these instances the object is to prevent the 
departed spirit from returning to its earthly habitation, and 
we should not be far wrong in ascribing a like motive to the 
Macedonian mourners. 

The funeral procession offers little food for speculation. 
Yet it is not devoid of interest. The coffin is carried un- 
covered, a custom said to be due to an old decree of the 
Turkish Government, issued in order to prevent the clandestine 
transmission of arms and ammunition in a closed coffin ; but 
this explanation is rendered improbable by the fact that the 
same custom prevails in Russia, where the decrees of the 
Turkish Government would be of little avail. The custom 
probably dates from Byzantine, if not from older, times. 

The appearance of the corpse is the subject of reverent 
comment on the part of the spectators. The beauty and 
calmness of a dead youth or maid call forth the ill-suppressed 
admiration of the crowd, and one often hears such remarks as 
" What a lovely, or what a gentle relic ! " (ri GDpalo, or tl ^pepo 
Xeiyfravo), whispered in awestruck tones. This gratification of 
the aesthetic instinct of the Greek is, however, not unfrequently 
checked by superstitious fear. It is popularly believed that if 
a corpse wears a smile, it is a sign that it will " draw after it 
another member of the family 2 " (da rpafirj^rj icy aXkov). 

At the head of the procession marches the bearer of the lid, 
holding it upright and followed by boys carrying bronze candle- 
sticks (/jiavovaXca), with burning tapers, a cross, and six -winged 
images of the cherubim (£e</>Te/H<z = e^airrepwya). Then come 
the priests and chanters with lit tapers in their hands, singing 
the funeral service. The coffin is borne by means of bands 

1 Ralston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 318. 

2 Similarly in Suffolk "if a corpse does not stiffen after death, or if the 
rigor mortis disappears before burial, it is a sign that there will be a death in the 
family before the end of the year." The Book of Days, vol. n. p. 52. The same 
superstition is alluded to by Sir Thomas Browne in his Vulgar Errors, Bk. v. 
ch. xxiii. In America also "if a corpse remains soft and supple after death, 
another death in the family will follow." Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore 
Society, vol. iv. p. 126. 

200 Macedonian Folklore 

passed underneath, by four or six men, according to its weight 
and size. The chief mourners march close behind. In country 
districts it is the custom for both sexes to attend, excepting 
newly-married women and women who happen to have lost 
their firstborn. But in the towns the female mourners keep 
decorously aloof. In these places the guilds of artisans (lavd<j>ia) 
are paid to swell the train. People along the road rise at the 
approach of the cortege and stand bareheaded, until it has 
gone by. 

The coffin is first taken to the church where the burial 
service is held ; and a profoundly affecting service it is. The 
solemn chant and the twinkle of many candles amidst clouds 
of frankincense involuntarily dispose the mind to reflections on 
the hereafter — a mood intensified by the sonorous hymn : 

" Vanity are all human things that exist not after death " 
(MaraLOTr)? irdvra ra apdpcbinva oaa ov% vnrdp^ev fiera 

Service over, the procession resumes its march to the 
burial ground. 

When the coffin is lowered into the grave, a pillow filled 
with earth is placed under the head, the shroud is drawn over 
the face, wine is sprinkled upon it, and a handful of earth is 
thrown iu by the priest, after which the coffin is covered with 
the lid. All the bystanders, relatives and friends, make a 
point of casting in a handful of earth, uttering such wishes 
as " May Heaven forgive him or her " (0eo9 cr%ft)pecrot rov 
or ryv) ; " May his or her memory live for ever '" (alcovla rov or 
•7-979 97 fivijfirj); "May the earth lie light upon thee!" (yalav 
€j(pi<; eXafypdv) — a wish taken from the burial service and 
recalling classical times. 1 

1 Cp. Ko(xt>OL <roi xQw eiraviode ir^aoi, yfoai, Eur. \4Zc. 463 ; Sit tibi terra levis, 
Mart. ix. 29. 11, etc. 

The custom of throwing a handful of earth into the grave exists among the 
Bussians, and is considered by them as a remnant of a still older custom, 
according- to which "everyone who was present at a funeral deemed it a religious 
duty to assist in the erection of the mound." Ealston, Songs of the Russian 
People, p. 330. 

Allusions to the funeral service are contained in the following popular 
imprecations : 

Funeral Rites 201 

After the grave is closed in, the mourners spread over it 
baskets full of pieces of bread or buns, also plates of parboiled 
wheat (/coXXvfia), bottles of wine or arrack, and in the case of 
young persons, sweetmeats. All comers are free to partake of 
this sad repast, and express a wish that " his or her soul may 
repose in bliss.'' 

All the details of the funeral described above are vividly 
set forth in the following song, which is often sung as a 

(From Eleutheroupolis.) 

TLepnrXe/jievr} Xefiovtd fiea \ t dv6rj aToXiafievrj, 

Trjp oopa ttov a djaTrrjaa Sev tjtclv ^Xoyrj/jbevrj. 

' AppooaTTjaa fcal e/cava crapavra fiia rj/juepa. 

T' dfcovaave k oi 4>iXot fiov /ecu icXalve ytar i/ieva, 

T' aicovcre tc rj fidva fiov zeal fnrrj/ce pea \ ra fAavpa. 

v E\a, rpavrafyvWevLa /xov, tcai wcaae ja air to %ep£, 

Kal pcora rrj fiavovXa jjlov, " Kvpd /jl, tI /cdv o jvlos gov ; 

Kal K6LV7J 8d 'TTTjXojTjOf) /JL€ T7] KdpSld /Ca/JL6V7)' 

" Yid TOL»9, yid TOt»9 7T0V fC€LT€TCU Kal Xe 7TG>9 dlTo6aiV6lJ 

"E\a, TpavTa<j)vXXevia fiov, tearae '<? rrj KetyaXrj /jlov, 
Kal iridae to yjzpdici fxov oao vd fiyf) ^v^V /jlov. 
f 'Ovra<; 6d fiyjj yfrv^Lrcra fiov y TpavTa<f>vXXtd$ fcXcopdvc, 
BaXe fie to ^ovvdpt fxov t to ireib Xa%ovp* ^ovvdpL. 
r, Ovra<$ 6d /3yf) yfrv%ovXd jjlov, aij vd fie aa/Savcoo-ys, 
Na tcXelcrrj^ ra jxaTaicia fiov, tcl x^P ia A 6 ' va GTavpoyays. 
r 'OvTCL<; OdpOfj (j>7)fJL€plO$ jJb€ dvfJbtaTo \ to %eo£, 

Na /cXclls, vd Xe?, TpavTCMpvXXid /jl\ "ttov 7ra9, yXv/co fiov Talpi ;" 
"Ovtcls 6d fJLe arj/eaoaovve Teaaapa 7raXXrj/cdpca y 
Na Kpovrjs to K€(f>dXt aov fjue 7reTpai$ fie Xiddpca. 

Nd top iry 6 irawas 's t airl, 
Kt) 6 8l&kos 's tt) Kopv<t>7j. 
" May the priest mutter in his ear, and the deacon over his head ! " 

N<£ <rov irfj t6v d-rriXoyo, " May (the priest) utter over thee the epilogue," 
i.e. "For Thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory!" 

Nd top Idr} rb '£65i, " May he submit to the carrying out service " {i£65ios 
dKokovdia), hence the epithet '£ov5idpiKos "one deserving death." 

202 Macedonian Folklore 

r Ovra? 6d fie irepdaovve dirb to /na^aXd crov, 
'E/Bya icpvfyd air ttj jxdva aov tcai rpdfta ra fiaWcd crov. 
f Ovras 6d fji€ nTTjyatvovve \ rfjs ite/cXrjo'ias ttj Tropra, 
Na /3yd\r)<; fitd yfriXr) (pcovq, pa fiapaffovv rd yppTa. 
f Ovtcl? da fi dfCovfi7njo-ovv€ '? rrj<; €/CfcX7iaid$ rrj fiearj, 
Nfl /3yd\r)<; fitd y\rtXrj <f>covrj, 6 KpdftftaTOS vd irearj. 
f Ovras 9d fie fiotpdcrovve rd epfia KoXvfid fiov, 
<&aye kol av, dydirrj /jlov, yid rrj 7raprjyopcd fiov. 
Ovras da fi€ fiotpdaovve irairdhe^; rd fcepia fiov, 
Tot€9, TpavTa<f>vXXipta fiov, ^(opi^et^ V rrj fcapStd /jlov. 1 

well-trained lemon-tree, in blossoms arrayed, 

The hour in which I became enamoured of thee was not a propitious hour. 

1 fell ill and suffered for forty and one days. 
My friends heard of it, and wept for me. 

My mother also heard of it and put herself in black. 

Come, my rosy One, take me by the hand 

And ask of my dear mother, " Lady, how fares thy son ? " 

She will answer thee from a heart charred with grief: 

" Behold him, behold him, he is lying yonder, and says that he is dying." 

Come, my rosy One, sit by my pillow, 

And hold my hand until my soul has flown forth. 

When my poor soul has flown, thou bough of a rose-tree, 

Gird me with my sash, my best Lahore sash ; 

When my poor soul has flown, ; tis thou must wind me in the shroud, 

Close my poor eyes and cross my hands upon my breast; 

When the priest is come, censer in hand, 

Weep thou, my rose-tree, and say: 

" Whither art thou going, my sweet mate ? " 

When four lads have lifted me up, 

Smite thy head with rocks and stones; 

When they carry me past thy neighbourhood, 

Come thou forth, without thy mother's ken, and tear thy tresses ; 

When they have taken me to the church-door, 

Give thou a shrill cry that the plants may wither. 

When they have laid me down in the nave of the church, 

Give thou a shrill cry that the coffin may collapse; 

When they are distributing the wretched boiled-corn, 

Eat thou also, my love, for my soul's sake. 

When the priests are distributing the candles, 

Then, my rosy One, thou wilt be severed from my heart. 

1 Cp. Passow (Myrologia), Nos. 377, 377a. Somewhat similar in tone and 
structure is No. 122 in E. Legrand, Becueil de Chansons Populaires Grecques. 

Funeral Rites 203 

The funeral-feast 

When the mourners who have escorted the corpse to its 
resting-place return to the house, they are met at the door by 
a servant holding a ewer and basin, in which they all wash their 
hands by turns before crossing the threshold. Then, inside the 
house, takes place the funeral banquet (fjua/captb or fiatcapia, 1 ) 
to which they all sit down, offering their consolations to the 
survivors, "Life to your worships" (^corj Ve Xoyov <ras), and 
their wishes for the welfare of the departed, whose deeds and 
virtues form the chief subject of conversation. Toasts and 
libations are sometimes indulged in so heartily that the ban- 
queters are apt to forget the mournful occasion of the feast. 
"The dead with the dead, and the living with the living" (Oi 
7r€0afi6v fie tsoI ireOa/jbev' k oi ^ovvravol fie rsol tyvvravoi) — 
the Macedonian equivalent for our " Let the dead bury their 
dead" — was the pithy way in which I once heard a merry 
mourner trying to defend his boisterous resignation to the 
common lot. 

The funeral feast of the modern Greeks may reasonably be 
regarded as a lineal descendant of the classic TreplSetTrvov, by 
Homer called rafyos, and the lustration preceding it as a survival 
of the ablution, which in ancient times took place before the 
"carrying out" of the corpse (i/€<f>opd). Even the excessive 
indulgence in funereal pleasures can be shown to be a matter 
of ancient tradition. Solon's regulations about funerals include 
a strict limitation of the quantity of meat and drink admissible 
for the banquet, whence Grote justly infers that "both in 
Greece and Rome, the feelings of duty and affection on the 
part of surviving relatives prompted them to ruinous expense 
in a funeral, as well as to unmeasured effusions both of grief 
and conviviality." 2 

1 From the ancient ainaKovplaL ' offerings of blood ' made upon the grave to 
appease the manes, Pind. O. i. 146. The word has probably been modified by 
false analogy to fiaicapta ' bliss.' Cp. /MKaplTqs still commonly used in the 
sense of 'one blessed,' i.e. dead, * late,' just as in iEsch. Pers. 633 etc. 

2 History of Greece, vol. n. p. 506. 

204 Macedonian Folklore 

Similar survivals from olden times are to be found among 
the Slavs. An old woman, with a vessel containing live coals, 
meets the mourners on their return from the funeral, and they 
pour water on the coals, taking one of them and flinging it 
over their heads. In this instance the purification is performed 
with both fire and water. Water is likewise used by the 
Lusetian Wends in their funeral rites. The repast on the 
tomb and the subsequent banquet are also essential accom- 
paniments of the Slav funeral, the participators in which " eat 
and drink to the memory of the dead," — a relic of the ancient 
Strava. 1 

If we go further afield, we find the concluding features of 
the Macedonian funeral in striking accordance with the practices 
of some rude tribes of North-East India, who after the burial 
"proceed to the river and bathe, and having thus lustrated 
themselves, they repair to the banquet and eat, drink, and make 
merry as though they never were to die." 2 The Macedonian's 
philosophy, it will be observed, is somewhat more advanced and 
in closer agreement with the doctrine expounded on a like 
occasion by the inebriated demigod: 

All mortals are bound to die, 

Therefore, having learnt wisdom from me, 
Make merry, drink, the passing day 
Regard as thine, the rest as Chance's. 3 

After the funeral. 

The attentions to the dead do not end with the funeral 
ceremonies. The sense of bereavement is kept alive by the 
mourning, which varies in duration according to the district, 
the average being one year. During that twelvemonth men 
and women appear in old clothes, the former let their beards 
grow, and the latter draw their head-kerchiefs round their faces 
more closely than usual. The mother and the widow of the 
deceased avoid going out of doors altogether. 

1 Kalston, Songs of the Russian People, pp. 319-20. 

Hodgson, quoted by Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. n. p. 31. 
3 Eur. Ale. 782 foil. 

Funeral Rites 205 

On the third day after the funeral, the friends call on the 
mother of the deceased, and comfort her with mournful music. 
The song given beneath is an example : 

{From Kozani.) 

" KaX?) fiepa a avrov \ r avaQi oirov elaai! 1 
" Ti fcaXfj /ne pa e^oo yd), iSco '? r dvddi 7roi/Mai ; 
Ttf KaXrj fiepa e%Te 0*66? irov yXeireTe tov y\io, 
Tlov y\67T€T€ TTjV "Avot^i, iraTe \ Ta it avr]yv pia , 
Kal 70b to epfio Kkel<rT7)ica puecra \ to p,avp dvddi. 
'Uepi/caXco ere, yiavprj Vr), irepucaXtd pueydXi) • 
Avtov to veto ttov a eaTetXa, /caXa vd tov icvTTd^rj^. 
Napdrj Sa/3/3aro vd tov Xovo~\, ttj J^vpia/crj v dXXdgrj, 
Kal to apya dpyovraifca vd ttcltg \ to crepyidvi.' 
'Aev elfiai pudva vd irovu), iraTepa^ vd Xvirovpiai, 
Mez^a fxe Xeve WLavprj Tf) icai * payyiaapbev avaSt.'" 1 

" Good day to thee who dwellest in this cave ! " 
"What kind of a good day can be mine in my cave-home? 
The good day is yours who behold the light of the sun, 2 
Who behold the Spring, who go to the fairs, 
Whereas I, the hapless one, am imprisoned in a black cave. 
' I offer up to thee, Black Earth, a great prayer : 
The youth whom I have committed to thy care, tend him lovingly. 
When Saturday comes, wash him; on Sunday clothe him in holiday 
attire ; 

1 With the last six lines cp. a short piece (6 lines) from Zakynthos included 
as a Myrologue (No. 9) in Bernhard Schmidt's Griechische Marchen, Sagen und 
Volkslieder. It is an address to the marble slab (wX&kcl) or tombstone, praying 
to it to spare the youth and " wither him not." The slab answers : 

" Myyapts et/xat fidva tov, /Arjydpis ddep(p^ tov, 

Myydpis etyuat wpcoTodeid, vd juty Tove fiapdpto; " 
"Am I his mother, am I his sister, 
Am I his aunt, that I should wither him not?" 
Also cp. Passow, No. 384, a Myrologue, "The Stranger's Tomb" (0 Td<pos tov 

2 Cp. dr)pbp ev £&eiv koX 6pg.v <pdos rjeXloio, Horn. Hymn. iv. 105. 

To live and to see the light of the sun are to the modern, as they were to the 
ancient, Greek synonymous terms; conversely, death and darkness are ideas 
indissolubly associated in the Greek mind, despite the belief in a Paradise 
" resplendent with light " ; v. infra, p. 210. 

206 Macedonian Folklore 

Late in the afternoon take him to the village-feast. ; 

'I am no mother that I should care for him, I am no father that I 

should feel for him. 
The names by which men call me are : Black Earth and gloomy cave ! J " 

This grim ballad in a few bold strokes presents to us a most 
vivid picture of the modern Greek's conception of death — a 
conception which differs little from that of his far-off ancestors. 

Another song, or rather the broken pieces of a song, which 
I picked up at Nigrita, may be worth quoting for the sake of 
the idea which it embodies : 

*H.rav evveci dSepcfrta teal fiia koXi) dSep^t], 

TIoXv r\Tav /jLavpofifidra. 

"E/3aXaz/ /3ov\rj rd ivved dhepfyia vd ftyovv diro rov r 'A8r). 

" To irov da Trare, dhepfyia fxov, 0dp6co tcrj ya> tcovrd aas" 

" To 7rov 6d 7ra9, fxo)p > dhepfyr), tto\v eiaai fiavpofi/judra, 

'Hfiec? 6e vd irepdcrovfJLe V rov Xdpovra rrj iropra, 

<l>a j3ryfj 6 Xdpovras vd fiia? diravTV^aivrj " 

There were nine brothers who had a beauteous sister, 

A maiden with deep black eyes. 

The nine brothers resolved to escape from Hades. 

" Whithersoever you go, my dear brothers, thither will I follow you." 

" Thou canst not follow us, sister, maiden with the deep black eyes. 

We shall pass through Death's gates, 

Death will come out and accost us...." 

Unfortunately my informant had only a confused and 
imperfect recollection of the sequel. But the above few lines 
are sufficient to show that the idea, as well as the name of 
Hades, has undergone little modification in the course of ages. 
Time has not prevailed against "the gates of Hell." They 
are still closed to the Shades, who still make attempts to 
escape. 1 Charos, however, appears less as a ruler than as 
a porter of the subterranean kingdom, and seems to keep 
watch near its gates, ready to pounce upon the would-be 
fugitive. In fact, we have here a confusion — not unintelligible 
— between the rdles of the ancient Pluto and the monster 

1 A like idea is embodied in some songs published by Passow (Nos. 420 — 425), 
and translated by Sir Eennell Eodd, The Customs and Lore of Modern Greece, 
p. 121, and Mr Tozer, Researches in the Highlands of Turkey, vol. n. p. 327. 

Funeral Rites 207 

Cerberus. Nor are these the only two functions attributed 
to Death by the popular imagination. He is also a messenger 
and a soul-abductor, moving on the back of a fiery steed. 
He is sometimes armed with a sword or with a deadly bow 
and arrows, sometimes he makes his appearance as a black 
bird of prey or as a black swallow, bearing the fatal summons. 
No place is inaccessible to him, except the lofty peaks of 
the mountains. Generally he is represented as a gaunt, 
cruel and crafty old man clad in black, deaf to the prayers 
of parents, and blind to the charm of beauty. His heart 
is not to be softened by appeals for mercy, not even by those* 
of his own mother. On one occasion she bids him : 

Spare thou mothers who have young children, brothers who have sisters - r 
Spare thou also newly-wedded pairs. 

But he grimly replies : 

Wherever I find three I carry off two, and where I find two I carry 

off one, 
Where I find one alone, him also do I carry off. 1 

A picture of Death, sombrely magnificent, is drawn in a 
well-known ballad ( f O Xdpo? ical al ^v^al). 2 The poet depicts 
Charos on horse-back, driving troops of youthful souls before 
him, dragging crowds of aged souls after him, while his saddle- 
bow is loaded with the souls of little children. At bis passage 
the earth quakes beneath the hoofs of his steed, and the; 
mountains are darkened by his shadow. 3 

Feasts of the Dead. 

At fixed periods, such as the eighth ('9 rals o%tg6) and tho 
fortieth day ('9 rafc aapdvTa) after burial, as well as on the anni- 
versary ('9 tov xpovo) of the death, a " feast of remembrance " 
(fjLvrj/jboavvo) is celebrated. The grave is decorated with flowers,. 
a mass is sung, and offerings are made in the church. These* 

1 '0 Xctpos /cat i} fi&va tov, Passow, No. 408. 

2 Passow, No. 409, translated by Sir Rennell Eodd, The Customs and Lore of 
Modern Greece, p. 286. 

3 For a brief study of the Modern Greek conception of Death see * 'Jkdvt.Kbv 
'H^epo\67iov,' Mapfoov II. BperoO, Paris, 1866, p. 217. 

208 Macedonian Folklore 

offerings consist of a tray of parboiled wheat (fc6\Xv/3a) mixed 
with pounded walnuts, raisins and parsley, and covered over with 
a coating of sugar, with the sign of the cross, and sometimes the 
initials of the deceased, worked on it in raisins. The wheat is 
interpreted as a symbol of the resurrection : as the grain is 
buried in the earth, rots, and rises again in the shape of a 
blooming plant, so will the soul rise from its tomb. An occult 
meaning is also attached to the sugar and the raisins : the 
sweetness of the one representing the sweets of the heavenly 
paradise, and the shrivelled appearance of the other suggesting 
the state of the soul before it is admitted to the bliss of the 
Christian Elysium. 

In addition to these ceremonies, held in everlasting re- 
membrance of individuals, there are certain days in the year 
set apart for the celebration of feasts of the dead collectively. 
These are called " Souls' Sabbaths " {^v^oad^^ara), and the 
times in which they occur coincide roughly with the seasons 
of spring and harvest, of the decline and death of the year. 
Two of these Sabbaths are especially dedicated to "those 
gone to rest" (tcop /cefcoifiTjfAivojv). The first falls on the 
eve of Meat Sunday, and the other on the eve of Whitsunday, 
that is in February and May respectively — their exact date 
depending, of course, on the date of Easter — thus corre- 
sponding with the Feralia and Lemuralia of the Romans, 
which were held in those two months. The eve of Cheese 
Sunday and the first Saturday of Lent are likewise devoted 
to the same purpose, the latter being also a Feast "in com- 
memoration of the miracle performed by means of parboiled 
wheat" (Mvtj/jlt) tov Sid koXXv@wv Oavpuaros). The Saturday 
preceding the feast of St Demetrius (Oct. 26 O. S.) is another 
of these " Souls' Sabbaths." 

On the above days sweetmeats, parboiled corn, small loaves 
of pure wheat (XeiTovpylai) stamped with a wooden stamp 
(acf)paytBi or a^payicrrepo), which bears the sign of the cross 
with the words "Jesus Christ prevaileth" abbreviated, and cakes 
are laid on the graves that the people, especially the poor, may 
eat thereof and " absolve the dead ones " (<yid vd a^oopeo-ovv 
rd rrredafiha). The relatives kneel and cry beside the tombs 

Funeral Rites 209 

and employ the priests to read prayers over them. 1 The 
fragrance of flowers mingles with the fumes of frankincense. 
The piercing wails of the women are blended with the whining 
benedictions of beggars; and the cemetery is a vast scene 
in which the living and the dead seem to meet in a holiday 
of mourning. But from amidst the cries of uncontrolled 
sorrow rises the voice of the praying priest, giving utterance 
to "the hope that keeps despair alive." 

Similar customs prevail in Russia, but they are cast after 
Greek models, the very names in common use being either 
translated or borrowed directly from the Greek {e.g. "chants 
of remembrance " = /xvrjfjLocrvva ; kolyvo = koWv/So, etc.). The 
corresponding rite in Western Europe is the celebration of 
All Souls' Day. By comparing these feasts of the dead with 
analogous ceremonies among races in a primitive state of 
culture, ethnologists have arrived at the conclusion that they 
rest upon the view that the souls of the deceased come 
back to the world to visit their living relatives and receive 
from them offerings of food and drink. 2 This seems to have 
been the idea underlying the veicvo-ia of the ancients, and 
it can still be dimly recognized in the formalities and ceremonies 
of the Greek Church. 

A practice connected with these celebrations brings into 
relief the meaning which the Macedonian peasants uncon- 
sciously attach to the feasts of the dead. It shows how far 
they believe in the actual presence of the spirits of the 
departed at the banquets prepared for them. It is said that, 
if on going to bed on a Souls' Sabbath you place under your 
pillow a few grains of parboiled wheat taken from three 
different plates of those offered at church, you will dream 
something true. This superstition tallies with that part of the 
animistic doctrine according to which the ghosts of the dead 
appear to their surviving friends in dreams, a theory shared 
by many widely separated races. 3 How firmly the ancient 

1 Cp. analogous practices in the islands of the Aegean, W. H. D. Eouse, 
« Folklore from the Southern Sporades ' in Folk-Lore, June 1899, pp. 180 — 181. 

2 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. n. pp. 30 — 43. 

3 lb. vol. i. pp. 442 foil. 

A. F. 14 

210 Macedonian Folklore 

Greeks and Romans held this superstition is shown by the 
dreams recorded in classical literature from Homer onwards. 1 


Three years after burial the body is disinterred and, if 
found thoroughly decomposed, the bones are carefully washed 
with wine and placed in a linen bag, or a wooden box, labelled 
with the name of the deceased and the date of death. The 
receptacle of the remains is then deposited in a mortuary chapel 
or charnel-house, emphatically called cemetery (/coifiTjTr/piov) 
that is "sleeping place"; the name "burial-ground" (veicpo- 
Ta<f>€tov) being applied to the graveyard. This performance 
is designated the " Lifting of the remains " CAvatcofitSr} twv 

Great importance is attributed to the appearance of the 
dead at the opening of the tomb. Complete dissolution is a 
certain proof that the soul of the deceased is at rest. The 
colour and odour of the bones are also critically observed, 
and a yellow redolent skeleton fills the relatives with the 
assurance that their dear departed is enjoying everlasting bliss 
"in the regions resplendent with light and flowers," 2 as 
described by the Church in language which sounds not unlike 
an echo of the classic notions concerning 

the Elysian lawns, 
Where paced the Demigods of old. 

Nor is this a mere popular belief. The Church officially 
recognizes it, and a petition that the body may " be dissolved 
into its component elements " (SidXvaov ek rd ig wv avveredrj) 
forms an essential part of the burial service. It follows as 
a logical corollary that the partial or total absence of decom- 
position indicates the sinfulness and sad plight of the deceased. 
In that case the body is buried again either in the same or 
in a new grave, and special prayers are offered up for its 

1 Horn. II. xxm. 59 foil.; Cie. Be Divinat. i. 27, etc. 

2 'Ei> t6tt(p <p(aT€iv$, kv rbircp x^ oe P<? i g tne expression in the Mass or Prayer for 
the Dead (iinfivr}fx,6<rvvos d£rj<rts). 

Funeral Rites 2il 

speedy decay. It is especially held that this disaster overtakes 
those who committed suicide, or who died under a parent's 
curse, 1 or under the ban of excommunication, or of a Bishop's 
anathema. This last cause of a soul's misery is expressly 
mentioned in the Mass for the Dead and is prayed against 
in the words " Unbind the curse, be it of priest or of arch- 
priest " ( Av<rov /cardpav, erre iepecos etre ap^tepea)?). 

How great is the dread of an ecclesiastic's wrath can 
be realized from the following anecdote related to the writer 
as a "true story" by a person who entertained no doubts 
as to its authenticity. " Many years ago there was an 
Archbishop of Salonica who once in a moment of anger 
cursed a man of his diocese : " May the earth refuse to receive 
thee ! " (77 7*79 va firj <re Se%r^). Years went by, and the 
Archbishop embraced Islam. Owing to his erudition and 
general ability, he was raised by the Mohammedans to the 
office of head Mullah. Meanwhile, the individual who had 
incurred the prelate's wrath died, and was buried in the 
usual fashion. Now it came to pass that when, at the 
expiration of three years, the tomb was opened, the inmate 
was found intact, just as if he had been buried the day before. 
Neither prayers nor offerings availed to bring about the desired 
dissolution. He was inhumed once more; but three years 
later he was still found in the same condition. It was then 
recalled to mind by the widow that her late husband had 
been anathematized by the apostate Archbishop. She forthwith 
went to the ex-prelate and implored him to revoke the sen- 
tence. This dignitary promised to exert his influence, which 
it appears had not been diminished a whit by his apostasy; 
for once a bishop always a bishop. Having obtained the 
Pasha's permission, he repaired to the open tomb, knelt 
beside it, lifted up his hands and prayed for a few minutes. 
He had hardly risen to his feet when, wondrous to relate, 
the flesh of the corpse crumbled away from the bones, and 
the skeleton remained bare and clean as if it had never 
known pollution." 

1 On the terrible power ascribed by the Slavs to a parent's ourse see Ealston, 
Russian Folk-Tales, p. 358. 


212 Macedonian Folklore 

In perfect agreement with the foregoing tradition is the 
account of an experiment, made at Constantinople in the 15th 
century by order of Mohammed the Conqueror, and recorded in 
a Byzantine chronicle recently published. According to this 
authority the first Sultan of Constantinople was distinguished 
as much by his liberal curiosity as by his prowess in the battle- 
field. He took an enlightened interest in the religion of the 
people whom he had conquered and delighted in enquiries 
concerning the mysteries of their faith. "Among other things," 
says the chronicler, "he was informed about excommunication, — 
namely that those who have died in sin and cursed by an 
Archbishop the earth dissolves not ; but they remain inflated 
like drums and black for a thousand years. At hearing this he 
marvelled greatly and enquired whether the Archbishops who 
have pronounced the excommunication can also revoke it. On 
being told that they can, he forthwith sent a message to 
the Patriarch bidding him find a person who had been long 
dead under the ban. The Patriarch and the clergy under him 
could not at first think of such an individual, and demanded a 
period of several days in which to find one. At last they 
recollected that a woman, a presbyter s wife, used once upon a 
time to walk in front of the church of the All-Blessed. She 
was a shameless wench and, owing to her personal charms, had 
had many lovers. Once, on being rebuked by the Patriarch, 
she falsely accused him of having had improper relations with 
her. The rumour spread, and some credited it, while others 
disbelieved it. The Patriarch, not knowing what to do, on a 
certain great festival pronounced a heavy sentence of excom- 
munication against the woman who slandered him. This was 
the woman of whom they bethought themselves ; for she had 
been long dead. On opening her grave they found her sound, 
not even the hair of her head having fallen off. She was black 
and swollen like a drum and altogether in a lamentable condition. 
They reported the fact to the Sultan, and he sent men of his 
own to inspect her. They were astonished at the sight and 
related to their master how they had found her. He thereupon 
sent other officials with his seal, who deposited the corpse in a 
chapel and sealed it. The Patriarch appointed a day on which 

Funeral Rites 213 

he intended to sing a special mass, when she would be taken 
out, and he also drew up a letter of forgiveness. The Sultan's 
messengers came on the appointed day and took her out. 
After divine service, the Patriarch standing with tears in his 
eyes read aloud the letter of forgiveness, and all at once, oh 
wonder ! while the Patriarch was reading the letter, the joints 
of her hands and feet began to dissolve, and those who stood 
close to the remains heard the noise. At the conclusion of the 
mass, they lifted the corpse and deposited it again in the 
chapel, which they sealed carefully. Three days later, when 
they came and broke the seals, they found her completely 
dissolved and in dust, and were astonished at the sight. They 
returned to their master and informed him of all they saw, and 
he on hearing tbeir account marvelled greatly and believed 
that the faith of the Christians is a true faith." 1 

The following occurrence, narrated by Csaplovics as an 
eyewitness and quoted by Mr Ralston^brings out more vividly 
the similarity between the Greek practice of exhumation and 
some customs prevailing among the Slavs : " A Slovene, whose 
mother had died, dug up the corpse of his father, collected his 
bones, washed them with red wine, tied them up in a clean 
white towel, placed the bundle on his mother's coffin, and then 
buried the remains of his two parents together." The writer 
goes on to remark that in Bulgaria also "it is said," "if no 
relative dies within the space of three years, the family tomb is 
opened, and any stranger who happens to expire is buried in 
it — a custom due to the lingering influence of the old idea, 
that the grave required a victim. ,,2 

The opening of the tomb, the collecting, washing, and tying 
up of the bones witnessed among the Slovenes, and the period 
of three years observed by the Bulgarians, taken together, 
constitute a complete parallel to what happens in Macedonia, 

1 Ecthesis Chronica, ed. by S. P. Lambros, Methuen and Co., 1902, pp. 36 — 
38. The same story is quoted by Sir Bennell Rodd from Augustine Calmet's 
book on magic, and another similar tale is given on the authority of Sir Paul 
Bicaut, British Ambassador at Constantinople during the latter part of the 
17th century. See The Customs and Lore of Modern Greece, p. 193. 

2 Songs of the Russian People, p. 332. 

214 Macedonian Folklore 

and among the Greeks generally, as a regular, time-honoured, 
and officially recognized practice. Indeed, so general and 
prominent is the custom that there is hardly any burying 
ground which does not boast a " cemetery " in which the bones 
of past generations are preserved, neatly ranged on shelves, 
like so many deed-boxes in a solicitors office. Visitors to the 
monasteries on Mount Athos, and other convents both in 
Macedonia and elsewhere in the Near East, are familiar with 
the crypts, the walls of which are covered with a multitude of 
skulls duly labelled, while the centre is often taken up by a 
miscellaneous heap of thigh-bones, ribs, and other minor con- 
stituents of human anatomy. The washing of the bones with 
wine and the depositing of them in a bag or box, to be kept for 
ever, are probably survivals of the ancient practice of extin- 
guishing the pyre with wine, collecting and washing the bones 
after cremation and then preserving them in a cinerary urn 
{icakirii)} In connection with the significance attached to the 
state of the body in the grave, it is well to refer to a similar 
belief entertained by the Slavs: "The bodies of vampires, of 
wizards, and of witches, as well as those of outcasts from the 
Church, and of people cursed by their parents, are supposed not 
to decay in the grave, for l moist mother-earth ' will not take 
them to herself." 2 

Before concluding these remarks on the burial-customs, it 
may be worth while to notice a practice which, though not 
confined to the Macedonians, is popular among them. The 
parings of the nails both of fingers and of toes are collected 
and put into a hole, that, in the resurrection of the dead, they 
may easily join the body again. 3 The Jews of Salonica also 
preserve the parings of their nails and are careful not to mislay 
them, for they must be buried with them. This custom is said 
to be due to the belief that on the Day of Judgment the nails 
will help the owner to dig his way out of the grave. The Russian 

1 See the Homeric funeral in II. xxiii. 236 foil. The bones of Patroklos are 
there put in a golden urn or bowl (iv xp v *£y <MX|?) and folded up in fat (SfrrXcuci 
hrjixQ) of the sacrificial victims. 

2 Ralston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 412. 

3 A. A. Yovcriov, (t H Kara to Uayyaiov Xutpa,' p. 76. 

Funeral Rites 215 

peasants also place the parings of a dead person's nails along 
with the body in the grave, in the belief that the soul has to 
climb a steep hill-side in order to reach the heavenly Paradise 
situated on the summit of a hill. 1 The Jewish habit, however, 
may be explained as being due to the fear lest these cuttings 
should fall into the hands of an enemy who might do a mischief 
to the owner by means of magic — a consideration which induces 
the Parsis to have their cut hair and nails buried with them, 2 
and other races to hide them in various ways. 3 But the first 
explanation seems to be the more correct one, as the same custom 
exists among the Turks who keep the parings of their nails " in 
the belief that they will be needed at the resurrection." 4 

The Wild Boar Superstition. 

In the district of Melenik I met with a superstition which 
presents some of the features of the world-wide belief in the 
power possessed by certain individuals to transform themselves 
into wild beasts, such as lions, leopards, hyaenas, or wolves. 
The "were-wolf ' of English and the "loup-garou" of French folk- 
lore find in the Macedonian "wild-boar" (ayptoyovpovvo) a not 
unworthy cousin. The belief, though not quite so general at 
present as it used to be, cannot be considered extinct yet. 
According to it, Turks, who have led a particularly wicked life, 
when at the point of death, turn into wild boars, and the ring 
worn by the man on his finger is retained on one of the boar's 
forefeet. The metamorphosis takes place as follows : the sinner 
first begins to grunt like a pig (apyivaei va povyicpityj), he then 
falls on all fours {reTpairoht^et), and finally rushes out of the 
house grunting wildly and leaping over hedges, ditches, and 
rivers until he has reached the open country. At night he 
visits the houses of his friends, and more especially those of his 

1 Ralston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 109. 

2 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 116. 

3 J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. i. pp. 382 foil. 

4 The People of Turkey, by a Consul's daughter and wife, quoted in 
J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. i. p. 385. Mr Frazer discusses the whole 
subject of hair and nail superstitions at great length. lb. pp. 368 foil. 

216 Macedonian Folklore 

foes, and knocks at their doors for admittance. He chases with 
evil intent all those whom he meets in the way, and generally 
makes himself disagreeable. This he continues doing for forty 
days, and at the end of that period he betakes himself to the 
mountains, where he abides as a wild beast. 

The ring noticed above reminds one forcibly of the ear-ring 
worn by the tribe of Budas in Abyssinia, a tribe much addicted 
to turning into hyaenas. It is said that this ornament has 
been seen " in the ears of hyaenas shot in traps," and it has 
been suggested that it is put there by the Budas in order " to 
encourage a profitable superstition." 1 It is not unlikely that in 
the case of the Macedonia boar also the ring might be traced to 
a similar origin. 

This superstition is closely related to a Slav belief, quoted 
as an instance of metempsychosis. The Bulgarians hold that 
Turks who have never eaten pork in life will become wild boars 
after death. It is related that a party assembled to feast on a 
boar was compelled to throw it all away, " for the meat jumped 
off the spit into the fire, and a piece of cotton was found in the 
ears, which the wise man decided to be a piece of the ci-devant 
Turk's turban." 2 

The Bulgarian superstition is practically the same as that 
of the Melenikiote peasantry, but the latter presents the curious 
point that the transformation of the Turk into a boar is supposed 
to occur before death and to be gradual. This peculiarity seems 
to identify it rather with a process of metamorphosis than of 
metempsychosis, especially as the doctrine of transmigration is 
so rarely found in Christian countries. This belief concerning 
the future state of the Turks is one of several superstitions held 
by other races both geographically and ethnological ly allied to 
the Macedonians. The Albanians believe in some strange 
beings which they call liougat or liouvgat, defined by Hahn as 
" Dead Turks, with huge nails, who wrapped up in their winding 
sheets devour whatever they find and throttle men." 3 

1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. I. p. 311. 

2 lb. vol. ii. pp. 15 foil. 

3 Stud. Alb. i. p. 16. 

Funeral Rites 217 

Akin both to the above superstition and to those that 
follow is the Wallachian belief in a being called priccolitsch 
and described as " a man who wanders by night in the shape of 
a dog over the fields and commons and even villages, and as he 
passes kills by touching horses, cows, sheep, pigs, goats and 
other animals, and derives from them a vitality which makes 
him look always healthy." 1 


A short step from the strange beliefs recorded in the last 
chapter brings us to the equally strange, though better known, 
superstition concerning the vampire. The name given to this 
hideous monster in Macedonia is, generally speaking, the same 
as that by which it is known in some parts of Greece proper ; 
but its form is slightly modified in various districts. Thus at 
Melenik (North-East) it is called Vrykolakas (o /3pv/c6\a/ca<; 
or to ftovpicoXaicL)) or Vampyras (6 ftdfiirvpas) ; whereas at 
Kataphygi (South- West) it appears as Vroukolakas, or Vompiras, 
the latter form being also used as a term of abuse. The name 
has been variously derived by philologists, some holding that it 
comes from the ancient Greek /jLop/juoXvicecov, a hobgoblin. This 
is the view of some modern Greek scholars, followed by Hahn. 
Others, like Bernhard Schmidt, 2 more plausibly assign to it a 
Slavonic origin. 3 

The Macedonian Vrykolakas is conceived of as an animated 
corpse throttling people and sucking the blood of men and 
beasts, or damaging household utensils, ploughs, etc. He is 
described as being in personal appearance like a bull-skin full 
of blood, with a pair of eyes on one side, gleaming like live 

1 Schott, Walachische Marchen, p. 298. On this and the following 
superstitions see also Tozer, Researches in the Highlands of Turkey, vol. n. 
pp. 80 foil. 

2 Das Volksleben der Neugriechen, p. 159. 

3 The following are some of the Slavonic forms of the name : ulkodlak 
(Bohemian), vukodlak (Servian), vrkolak (Bulgarian). The Albanians call it 
vurvulak, and the Turks vurkolak. The form fidfA-mpas or po/JLmpas also may be 
compared with the Bussian vampir or upuir (anc. upir), and the Polish upior. 

218 Macedonian Folklore 

coals in the dark. 1 The Macedonian, and the modern Greek 
Vrykolakas generally, agrees in his attributes with the Slavonic 
creature of the same name, and with the ghouls of the Arabian 
.Nights. Like them it is imagined as being a corpse imbued 
with a kind of half-life, and actuated by murderous impulses 
and by an unquenchable thirst for blood. This conception does 
not differ materially from the kindred beliefs of the Scandinavians 
and Icelanders, yet on the whole it is nearer to the Slavonic 
than to any other version of the vampire superstition. But we 
need not, therefore, conclude that the modern Greeks have 
borrowed much more than the name from their Slav neighbours. 
The superstition is closely related to the lycanthropy and to the 
belief in spectres of the ancient Greeks, and the fact that in the 
Greek islands it is known by other and purely Hellenic names 2 
goes far to prove that the idea has originated among the Greeks 
independently, though those of the mainland who have come 
into contact with the Slavs may, in adopting the Slav name, 
have also modified their own views and customs respecting the 
vampire in harmony with those of their neighbours. 

The accordance between the Greek and the Slavonic con- 
ceptions of the vampire is nowhere more apparent than in 
Macedonia, a province which for many centuries past has been 
the meeting point of Slav and Hellene. It is believed that a 
dead person turns into a vampire ((3pvtco\afad%ei,), s first, if at 
the unearthing of the body the latter is found undecayed and 
turned face downwards. In such an emergency the relatives of 
the deceased have recourse to a ceremony which fills the 
beholder with sickening horror. I was creditably informed of 
a case of this description occurring not long ago at Alistrati, 
one of the principal villages between Serres and Drama. 
Someone was suspected of having turned into a vampire. The 
corpse was taken out of the grave, was scalded with boiling oil, 

1 It will be seen from this that Mr Tylor's description of the Vrykolakas as 
'* a man who falls into a cataleptic state, while his soul enters a wolf and goes 
ravening for blood " (Prim. Cult. vol. i. p. 313) is scarcely accurate. 

2 KaraxavaSy in Crete and Bhodes ; ava.iKadovfjt.evQs, in Tenos ; crapKiOfi^vos, in 

3 ftpvKoXaKiaae ! is said in jest of one who cannot sleep of nights. 

Funeral Rites 219 

and was pierced through the navel with a long nail. Then the 
tomb was covered in, and millet was scattered over it, that, if 
the vampire came out again, he might waste his time in 
picking up the grains of millet and be thus overtaken by dawn. 
For the usual period of their wanderings is from about two 
hours before midnight till the first crowing of the morning 
cock. At the sound of which "fearful summons" the Vrykolakas, 
like the Gaelic sithche, or fairy, vanishes into his subterranean 
abode. 1 

Another cause leading to the transformation of a human 
being into a Vrykolakas is the leaping of a cat over the corpse 
while lying in state. To guard against such an accident the 
body is watched all night by relatives and friends, who consider 
it a deed " good for their own souls " (\frvxi/c6) to wake by the 
dead. If, despite their watchfulness, a cat does jump across 
the body, the latter is immediately pierced with two big " sack- 
needles" (aa/cicoppdcfrais) in order to prevent the dread calamity. 
The visits of a vampire are further guarded against by scattering 
mustard seed 2 over the tiles of the roof, or by barricading the 
door with brambles and thorn-bushes. 

The superstition regarding the leaping of the cat is shared 

1 Tournefort, the eighteenth century French traveller, narrates a similar 
occurrence which he witnessed in the island of Myconos. The body in that 
case was not simply scalded, but actually burnt to ashes. Voyage to the Levant, 
Eng. Tr. i. pp. 103 foil., in Tozer, Researches in the Highlands of Turkey, 
vol. ii. pp. 92 foil. See also Leake, Travels in Northern Greece, vol. i. p. 492 ; 
vol. iv. p. 216. 

2 The mustard, like the millet mentioned already, is intended to make the 
Vrykolakas waste his time in counting. The same fatal weakness for arithmetic 
seems to beset the Kalikantzari of Southern Greece. If a sieve is handed to one, 
he will set to work to count the holes, as though his life depended on it. As 
his mathematics do not go beyond the figure two, he is overtaken by morning. 
The Italians use a similar antidote on the Eve of St John's Day, when they 
carry about an onion-flower or a red carnation. This flower is meant for the 
witches, who are believed to be abroad on that evening. When it is given 
to them, they begin to count the petals, and long before they have accomplished 
this feat you are out of their reach. See Sir Rennell Rodd, The Customs and Lore 
of Modern Greece, p. 201. In America also a sieve placed under the door-step, 
or hung over the door, keeps the witches out of the house, for they cannot enter 
until they have counted, or even crawled through, every hole : Memoirs of the 
American Folk-Lore Society, vol. vn. p. 16. 

220 Macedonian Folklore 

by both Servians and Bulgarians, for which reason a corpse is 
always carefully watched while it is in the cottage before the 
funeral. But the Slavonic races go even further than the 
Greeks : " In some places the jumping of a boy over the corpse 
is considered as fatal as that of a cat. The flight of a bird 
above the body may also be attended by the same terrible 
result ; and so may — in the Ukraine — the mere breath of the 
wind from the Steppe." 1 This belief survives in the northern 
counties of England, although its explanation has been long 
forgotten. If a cat or dog pass over a corpse, the animal must 
be killed at once. 2 

The piercing of the corpse is also a practice well-known to 
the Slavs. In Russia they drive a stake through it, and in 
Servia, after having pierced it with a white-thorn stake, they 
commit it to the flames. 3 Likewise in Iceland, we are told, in 
order to prevent a dead person from "going again" needles or 
pointed spikes should be driven into the soles of his feet. The 
same end would be attained by driving nails into the tomb 
during high-mass, between the reading of the Epistle and 
the Gospel. 4 With the scattering of millet or mustard-seed 
in order to obstruct the vampire's progress may be compared 
the funeral practice of the Pomeranians, who on "returning 
from the churchyard leave behind the straw from the hearse, 
that the wandering soul may rest there, and not come back 
so far as home." 5 Also the Russian custom of the widow, who, 
after the body is carried out, "strews oats over the ground 
traversed by the funeral procession." 6 

With the blood-sucking Vrykolakas is somewhat distantly 
connected the murony of the Wallachs, which has also the 

1 Ealston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 412. 

2 Henderson, Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties of England, p. 43, in 
Ealston, Russian Folk-Tales, p. 323, n. 2; Tozer, Researches in the Highlands 
of Turkey, vol. n. p. 84, n. 10. 

3 Ealston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 413. It is with a like intent that 
the negroes of America sometimes drive a stake through a grave, as soon as one 
is buried. Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. vn. p. 15. 

4 Islenzkar tyoftsogur, i. 224, 3 — 7. 

5 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. n. p. 27. 

6 16. p. 318. 

Funeral Rites 221 

power of assuming many shapes, such as that of a cat, frog, 
flea, or spider. 

In addition to the ordinary Yrykolakas who delights in 
human blood, the Macedonians believe in the existence of a 
Vrykolakas of sheep and cattle. He is represented as riding 
on their shoulders, sucking their blood, and killing them. 
Quacks, especially Mohammedan dervishes, profess to have the 
power of exterminating these inferior vampires, whence they 
are known as " vampire-killers," and go about ostentatiously 
parading an iron rod ending in a sharp point (shish), or a long 
stick armed with a small axe on the top. 

People born on a Saturday (hence called ULapfiariavol or 
Sabbatarians) are believed to enjoy the doubtful privilege of 
seeing ghosts and phantasms, and of possessing great influence 
over vampires. A native of Sochos assured the writer that such 
a one was known to have lured a Vrykolakas into a barn and 
to have set him to count the grains of a heap of millet. While 
the demon was thus engaged, the Sabbatarian attacked him 
and succeeded in nailing him to the wall. The story presents 
several points of interest. First, the nailing of an evil being to 
a wall is a notion familiar to the Macedonian mind. It may 
even be found embodied in folk-songs. Some children's rhymes, 
which I heard from a girl of the same village, began with the 
words : 

Xroi^etb TrapayuiiLk.vQ, 
'2 top rol^o /cap<j>(0fjLevo. 

thou Ghost buried 
And to the wall nailed ! 

This notion is closely connected w T ith the ancient Roman 
practice of warding off evil by driving a nail into a wall, and 
the kindred superstitions still prevalent among the peasants of 
European countries. 1 The Macedonian belief may be regarded 
as more primitive than any of these parallels ; for it is based 
on the idea that personal and, so to speak, substantial spirits 
can thus be transfixed ; not only abstract calamities. Another 
interesting point offered by the above tale is the belief in the 

1 For illustrations see J. G-. Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. in. pp. 33 foil. 

222 Macedonian Folklore 

exceptional endowment of people born at a certain time. With 
this superstition may be compared the one mentioned by 
Mr Andrew Lang as prevailing in Scotland, — namely, "that 
children born between midnight and one o'clock will be 
second-sighted." 1 Furthermore, as Saturday — the birthday of 
the Macedonian Sabbatarians — is the seventh day of the week, 
these favoured mortals may claim kinship with the seventh 
sons, who among ourselves are credited with the faculty of 
curing diseases by the touch, and the like. 2 In this connection 
it may also be noted that a firstborn child is in Macedonia 
supposed to possess supernatural powers over a hail-storm. If 
such a child swallows a few grains of hail, the storm will im- 
mediately cease. 

At Liakkovikia it is held that the Sabbatarian owes his 
power to a little dog, which follows him every evening and 
drives away the Vrykolakas. It is further said that the Sabba- 
tarian on those occasions is invisible to all but the little dog. 3 
Perhaps it would not be a mistake to explain the little dog as 
representing the " Fetch " or natal spirit of the Sabbatarian, a 
spirit which to this day is fond of assuming a canine form in 
Iceland. 4 

1 Cock Lane and Common Sense, p. 238 ; cp. the American superstition that 
" a person born on Halloween is said to be possessed of evil spirits" (Memoirs 
of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. iv. p. 149), and that "those born with a 
caul over the face can see ghosts," lb. vol. vn. p. 22. 

2 For several curious instances of this belief in England see The Book of 
Days, vol. i. pp. 166 foil. 

3 A. A. Tovaiov, *'H Kara rb lldyyaiov Xc6pa,' p. 75. 

4 The northern term "Fylgja" has two meanings: after-birth and fete h, 
which was believed to inhabit the after-birth. It generally assumed the shape 
of some animal : birds, flying dragons, bears, horses, oxen, he-goats, wolves, 
foxes; but in modern times in Iceland its favourite guise is that of a dog. 
This spirit followed through life every man of woman born. See Islenzkar 
Y)6%sogur, i. 354 — 357; Finn Magnusson, Eddalaeren, iv. 35 foil. For this 
note I am indebted to the kindness of my friend Mr Eirikr Magnusson, of 
Trinity College, Cambridge. 



Diseases of men and beasts are often regarded as evil 
spirits to be expelled by means of incantations, prayers, and 
other rites analogous to those practised against the Evil Eye. 1 
In this belief the Macedonian peasants are not singular. It is 
a belief chiefly prevailing among races in the lowest stage of 
culture and thought, but surviving in many forms among 
peoples which have long out-grown that early state. The 
Russian peasant, for id stance, maintains the same attitude 
as the Macedonian and endeavours to drive away disease " by 
purification with fire and water, and so the popular practice of 
physic is founded on a theory of fumigations, washings, and 
sprinklings attended by exorcisms of various kinds." 2 

At Nigrita, in Southern Macedonia, I had an opportunity 
of witnessing a ceremony of this description — a Benediction of 
Beasts. The cattle of the district had been attacked by a 
disease which was, as a matter of course, set down to the agency 
of the Evil One. The people, therefore, resolved to have it 
exorcised. On a Saturday evening the town-crier (SiaXaXrjr^, 
Turk, dellal) proclaimed that the cattle affected should be 
driven next morning to the enclosure of the church. On the 
morrow many head of cattle of all ages and complexions, and of 
both sexes, congregated in the churchyard, awaiting the special 
ceremony, which was to be performed for their benefit. When 
the ordinary Sunday service was over, the priest came out and, 
with the hand of St Dionysios, the patron saint of the village, 

1 v. supra, p. 143. 

2 Ralston, Songs of the Russian People, pp. 379 foil. 

224 Macedonian Folklore 

before him, read the customary prayer, recommending each 
particular ox, cow, and calf by name to the mercy of Heaven. 
At the mention of the bovine names — such as Black, Red, 
Dapple, Moraite, etc., — the officiator was so strongly moved by 
the humour of the situation that he could hardly refrain from 
bursting into laughter — an emotion in which some of the 
farmers themselves were not disinclined to join. But, though 
far from blind to the ludicrous side of the affair, they were too 
much in earnest about their cattle to interrupt the rite. 1 

Another method of delivering suffering cattle from an evil 
spirit is the following. A dervish, or Mohammedan mendicant 
friar, is called, and he draws a circle round the afflicted herd, 
uttering the while some mystic words, or pure gibberish, in an 
undertone. He then proceeds to cast amid the close-gathered 
cattle a charm consisting of a verse of the Koran sewed up in 
leather {nuska). The animal hit by the nuska is the one 
harbouring the evil spirit. The nuska is, therefore, hung round 
its neck. In the case of sheep, they are likewise circumscribed 
with a magic circle, but the nuska, instead of being thrown 
at random, is forthwith suspended from the neck of the leader 
of the flock. 

In the same district I came across several instances of people 
who attributed their physical ailments to the malignity of the 
" Spirits of the Air " (Ayepi/ca). 2 An old woman was complain- 
ing to me of a chronic low fever. I naturally asked her whether 
she had consulted a physician. " What can physicians do ? " 
she answered, peevishly, "it is an Ayeriko, and physic avails 
nothing against it." 

The marshes and fens which stretch unchecked over the 
valley of the Struma, where the village is situated, are the 
prolific nurseries of malaria and other disorders alike fatal to 

1 Cp. similar religious services performed on St Anthony's Day in Eoman 
Catholic countries. The Book of Days, vol. i. p. 126. 

2 The Turks also regard diseases as coming " from the air" (hawadan) and 
to be cured with a nuska containing a verse of the Koran. This prescription is 
either worn round the neck as a phylactery, or is burned and the patient is 
fumigated with the smoke thereof, or, still better, it is washed in a bowl of water 
which is afterwards drunk by the patient. See f, H KuvaTavTivoviroXis' by 
Scarlatos D. Byzantios, vol. i. p. 94. 

Spirits and Spells 225 

bipeds and to quadrupeds. But the people are firmly convinced 
that these things have nothing to do with the disease, which 
can have none but a supernatural origin — a belief corresponding 
to the superstition known throughout Northern Europe as elle- 
skiod, elle-vild, and in some parts of England as elf-shot. 

Women belated on the road are sometimes seized with 
sudden terror, which results in temporary loss of speech, moping 
madness, or malignant ague. These ailments, too, are promptly 
set down to the invisible agency of an Ayeriko. 1 Recourse is 
immediately had to some renowned dervish or khodja (Moham- 
medan religious minister) of the neighbourhood, who pretends 
to trace the evil to its source, and to discover the exact spot 
where the attack occurred. That part of the road is sprinkled 
with petmez, or boiled grape-juice, on three consecutive nights, 
that the " Spirit's temper may be sweetened " (yea va yXvieaOrj 
r ' Aye pi/co). 

It should be observed that the Mohammedan ministers and 
monks enjoy a far higher reputation as wielders of magical 
powers than their Christian confreres. Likewise the most 
famous fortune-tellers of either sex belong to the Moham- 
medan persuasion. This is partly due to the fact that the 
Mohammedans, being as a rule far more ignorant than their 
Christian neighbours, are more strongly addicted to superstitious 
belief and practice; but it may also arise from the universal 
tendency to credit an intellectually inferior race with greater 
proficiency in the black arts. 2 

The dervishes, however, have formidable competitors in old 
Gipsy women, and other hags, suspected of intimate relations 
with the powers of darkness, and propitiated with presents 
accordingly. To these sorceresses (fiato-Tpai?) the peasants 

1 Cp. the ancient Greek belief that a trance or spiritual ecstasy was due to 
the Nymphs, a belief vividly illustrated by the words of Socrates : " Verily the 
place seems to be god-haunted. Therefore, if in the course of our discourse 
I often chance to become entranced (vvfJL<f>6\r)irTos, lit. caught by nymphs), wonder 
thou not." Plat. Phaedr. 238 d. The Latin epithet lymphaticus, frantic, panic- 
struck, crazy, also embodies the same idea and accurately describes the symptoms 
attributed to the agency of the Ayeriko by the Macedonians. 

2 For illustrations of this principle see Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. 
pp. 113 foil. 

A. F. 15 

226 Macedonian Folklore 

often have recourse for the recovery of lost and for the cure 
of ailing cattle, as well as for the interpretation of dreams. 1 
Also people who believe themselves to be under the influence 
of an enemy's witchery (fidyeia) go to these sibyls for a counter- 
charm in order to break the first. Their concoctions (madjoon) 
are likewise supposed to remove barrenness, to restore youth 
and beauty, and to work many other wonderful effects. Their 
methods can best be illustrated by a personal experience. 

An old Gipsy woman at a fair at Petritz, after having told 
the writer his fortune, by looking upon a shell, assured him 
that he was the victim of an enemy's curse, and that she had 
the means of defeating its operation. It appears that " when I 
was leaving my country, a woman and her daughter had cast 
dust after me and pronounced a spell." The " casting of dust " 
as an accompaniment of an anathema, by the way, is a well- 
known practice of Hindoo witches. The Prophetess then 
taking me aside offered to supply me, for a consideration, 
with a liquid which I ought to make my enemies drink or 
to pour outside their door. 

These hags provide young people with various philtres which 
sometimes are less innocent than pure water. But lovers need 
not always resort to a professional magician. There are a few 
recipes familiar to most of those who have ever suffered from 
an unrequited passion. One of the most popular philtres is to 

1 There is little originality in the dreams of the modern Greeks or in their 
interpretation. Some of them are interpreted symbolically, e.g. to dream of an 
ugly old hag forebodes illness ; a serpent indicates an enemy ; raw (indigestible) 
meat signifies trouble. Very often dreams among the Greeks, and in these 
remarks I include the Greeks of Macedonia, are interpreted just as among the 
Zulus, the Maoris and others, on the principle of contraries, e.g. if you dream 
that you are the possessor of a hoard of gold pieces, you are destined to die 
a pauper. Lice, which so often go with extreme poverty, on the other hand, 
are regarded as omens of wealth. The ancient rule that * ' he who dreams he 
hath lost a tooth shall lose a friend" still holds its place in modern Greek 
oneiromancy as it does in the chap-books of modern Europe. See Tylor, 
Primitive Culture, vol. i. pp. 122 foil. The dreams concerning treasure-trove 
are governed by the same law of secrecy as in Southern Greece. A breach 
of this rule involves the transformation of the treasure into coals. Cp. 
W. H. D. Eouse, 'Folk-lore from the Southern Sporades,' in Folk-Lore, 
June 1899, p. 182. The dream of Saturday night must come true before 
Sunday noon. 

Spirits and Spells 227 

be obtained by the following simple but efficacious method : 
Take three live fishes and place them in a row upon a gridiron 
over the fire. While the fishes are broiling, hit them in turns 
with two small sticks, repeating this incantation : 

"As these fishes are panting, even so may the maiden whom 
I love pant with longing" ( f/ 07nw9 Xaxrapovv avrd ra 'xfrdpia 
krai va Xa^raprjcrr) k rj veia it dya7TO)). 

When they are thoroughly charred, pound them in a mortar 
and reduce them to fine powder, out of which concoct a potion 
and then endeavour to make the maid drink of it. 


Besides the official operations, which are performed by the 
recognized ministers of the Crescent and of the Cross, the 
peasantry have recourse to a good many expedients on their own 
account. An amateur method of curing mild complaints, such 
as swollen glands and the like, is to w r rite an exorcism — any 
passage from the Bible will do — upon the patient's cheek or 

At Cavalla I was shown an old manuscript of the New 
Testament. It seemed to have been used a great deal. To 
my comment to that effect, my hostess eagerly replied : 

" Oh yes, we have been lending it out a lot." 

" It is a pity so many pages have been torn out," I remarked. 

" That couldn't be helped. You can't use the leaves, unless 
you tear them out," was her naive answer, and it enlightened 
me on the meaning of the word "use." The leaves of the 
manuscript were used as the leaves of the lemon-tree are used 
for medicinal purposes, that is, by soaking them in water, and 
then washing the ailing part with the juice thereof, or drinking 

the latter 

Like him that took the doctor's bill, 
And swallowed it instead o' th' pill. 1 

The charm of the red and white thread used in Spring has 
already been mentioned. It should be added here that the 

1 Hudibras, Part I, Canto I. 


228 Macedonian Folklore 

same amulet is considered highly efficacious against agues, 
fevers, and sun-strokes. The practice is also very common 
among the Russians who sometimes use merely a knotted 
thread, sometimes a skein of red wool wound about the arms and 
legs, or nine skeins fastened round a child's neck, as a preserva- 
tive against scarlatina. 1 The efficacy of these tied or knotted 
amulets depends to a great extent upon the magical force 
of their knots. 2 This is illustrated by the very important part 
played by the 'binding' and 'loosing' processes in popular magic, 
and by the prominence given to these knots in the marriage 
ceremonies of the Macedonian peasantry described elsewhere. 
Another point relating to this amulet and deserving attention 
is the fact that in Macedonia it is especially used during the 
month of March, that is in early spring. This circumstance 
connects it with the other springtide observances dealt with in 
a previous chapter, and particularly with the children's Feast of 
the Rousa, the object of which it is to ward off scarlatina. 3 

A practice not confined to young people is resorted to by all 
those who suffer from the irritating little red pimples, which 
burst forth upon the skin in the dog-days of a southern summer. 
These pimples are known as hararet at Melenik ; elsewhere as 
SpoTo-lSta. Relief from them is sought in a very queer fashion: 
the sufferer, male or female, repairs before sunrise to a lonely 
spot, where there is a quince-tree, and, standing naked beneath 
its boughs, pronounces three times the following formula : 

"I want a man and want him at once!" ("Avrpa 6e\co, rdopa 
rov deXco) — a phrase which has passed into proverb, applied to 
people who will brook no delay. 

Then they pick up their clothes and walk off forty paces, 
without looking back. Having reached that point, they stop 
and dress. This must be done three days in succession. 4 

1 Balston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 388. 

2 On the subject of ' Knots as amulets ' see J. G-. Frazer, The Golden Bought 
vol. i. pp. 398 foil. 

3 v. supra, pp. 40 — 42. 

4 The formula employed seems to suggest that the ceremony was at one time 
confined to women alone. In that case the custom can be connected with 
numerous similar customs prevalent in various countries and explained as owing 
their origin to "the belief of the fertilising power of the tree spirit." For 

Spirits and Spells 229 

The mystic "forty paces" reappear in a recipe against no 
less an ill than lightning. It is believed that if one struck by 
lightning is immediately removed from the spot, where the 
accident befell him, to the prescribed distance, he will recover. 

At Ca valla I came across a cure of rheumatism by the 
sand-bath. There is a spot a little way from the beach, to 
the east of the town, remarkable for its light colour. It is 
a patch of fine yellowish sand which looks very much as though 
it once was the bed of a salt pond, whose waters have been 
evaporated by the sun. A local legend, however, ascribes to it 
a miraculous origin. 

In olden times, it is said, there was a shepherd who had a 
flock of beautiful white sheep. He once made a vow to sacrifice 
one of his sheep, but he failed to fulfil it. 1 The gods in their 
wrath waited for an opportunity of punishing him, and this 
soon offered itself. One fine afternoon, as the shepherd stood 
on that spot, tending his beautiful white sheep, a monstrous 
wave rose out of the sea and swallowed up both shepherd and 
flock. The spot has ever since remained white, and the flock 
were transformed into fleecy white wavelets, hence called "sheep" 

The spot is now known as the "White Sand" (called "A 0-77-/909 
r/ Afifio$ by the Greeks, Bias koom by the Turks) and is supposed 
to possess healing virtues. People suffering from rheumatism 
and paralysis are cured if on three successive days they go there 
and bury themselves up to the waist in the sand. In fact 
" White Sand " of Cavalla is quite a fashionable health resort, 
especially among the Turks of the town and environs. 3 

illustrations see J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. i. p. 195. On the other 
hand, viewed as a cure, it may be compared with the widely- spread practice of 
transferring ills to trees discussed by Mr Frazer, vol. in. pp. 26 foil. The 
injunction against looking back finds many parallels among the cases cited by 
Mr Frazer. 

1 The faithless shepherd appears in a Spanish story. The promise of a lamb 
is there made to March, who revenges himself afterwards by borrowing three 
days from April, see R. Inwards, Weather Lore, p. 27. 

2 Our " white horses." 

3 Cp. Mr Tozer's account of the same method as practised on Mount Athos, 
Researches in the Highlands of Turkey, vol. i. p. 75. 

230 Macedonian Folklore 

The cure recommended by the folk-physician for the bite of a 
mad dog is to apply to the wound a tuft of hair cut off from the 
dog that bit you. This is a relic of the ancient and once world-wide 
homoeopathic doctrine, according to which the cause that produced 
the harm can also effect its cure (similia similibus curantur). 
It is mentioned in the Scandinavian Edda "Dog's hair heals 
dog's bite/' and it also survives in the English expression "a hair 
of the dog that bit you/' although its original meaning is no 
longer remembered. 1 A bleeding of the nose is stopped by a 
large key placed on the nape of the sufferer's neck. 2 In Russia 
the sufferer grasps a key in each hand, or the blood is allowed 
to drop through the aperture of a locked padlock — a practice 
connected by mythologists with the worship of Perun the 
Thunder-God. 3 The key cure is not unknown in this country 
also. 4 

A small wart, which sometimes appears on the lower eyelid 
and which, from its shape, is known as a ' little grain of barley ' 
(fcpt0apd/cc or Kpidapiraa), is cured if someone bearing a rare 
name barks at it like a dog. 5 

Nothing shows more clearly how strong and general is the 
conviction that physical ailments are due to non-physical causes 
than the fact that in systematic treatises on folk -medicine 
among the prescribed remedies are frequently included prayers 
and spells. The following are examples, literally translated 
from a tattered old MS. which I obtained in Macedonia. 

Useful Medical Treatise* 

The above is the modest title of the MS. which is dateless, 
nameless, and endless. So far as the writing is a criterion of 
age, the document seems to be the work of an eighteenth 

1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 84. 

2 The same cure is used in America, see Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore 
Society, vol. iv. p. 99. 

3 Kalston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 96. 

4 For "superstitions about diseases" and folk medicine generally in England, 
see The Book of Days, vol. i. p. 732. 

5 A. A. Yovffiov, * 'H kolt k rb ndyycuo*/ Xc6/)a,' p. 76. 

6 For the original Greek see Appendix III. 

Spirits and Spells 231 

century scribe, whose identity, however, in the absence of direct 
evidence, must remain a problem unsolved and insoluble. But 
judging by certain points of similarity between the hand of the 
present and that of another MS. of a similar nature, bound in 
the same volume, I am inclined to attribute it to the author of 
the latter, who reveals his name in an apologetic note appended, 
by way of postface, at the end of his work: "Hand of 
Constantine Rizioti, by trade a physician. If aught be wrong 
in the book, set it right, and grant your forgiveness to me, as to 
one who is ignorant of the science of his own trade. Besides, 
I was a beginner when I wrote it." l 

The MS. begins with a recipe for sleeplessness. Says the 
author : 

1. "He who wishes to watch and not feel sleepy : there is a bird 
named sparrow ; of this bird the eyes, and the eyes of the crab, and of the 
[blank] likewise, wrap them up in white linen and tie them to his right 
arm, and he shall not be sleepy." 

This is followed by prescriptions, more or less unconventional, 
for tooth-cleaning, toothache, wounds, stomach-ache (lit. soul- 
ache), 2 pains in the abdomen, childbirth, headache ; for driving 
away caterpillars from a garden ; for pain in a man's body ; and 
for thirst. 

The caterpillar remedy is characteristic and deserves re- 
production : 

9. "For the chasing of caterpillars : take 3 caterpillars from the garden, 
take also fire [?] and fumigate the garden or park, and they will go away." 

Next comes another prescription for toothache : 

12. " In the event of pain in the teeth make this sign, and plant the 
knife before the aching tooth, and say the * Our Father,' and the sufferer 
must say the ' Kyrie eleison.' And when the pain is gone from the first 
tooth, let him put it in the second, likewise in the third, and, by the grace 
of God, he will be cured." 

1 %etp KwvGTavTivov pt£i6rr /cat ttju t^x v V v ta,Tpo[y]' /cat t\ti c^aXep' eUararaL 
opObffare at/rd /cat <rvyypib[[ir}v~] fiot dapfoaTciL- uis dfiadets birdpxw ttjs ideias 
t4% v V s t V &currij/iiiv • ajaa £e /cat dpxofios [ = apx^ptos] eifil #re to ZypaQa. 

2 \pvxbirovos. 

232 Macedonian Folklore 

There follow recipes for pains in the belly, pains internal 
and external, and for vomiting. To these ensues the heading 
" For loosing a man who is bound or a woman, write:" but the 
prescription does not actually occur till later. Instead of it, we 
here get two recipes for ague : 

17. " In the event of ague-fever : write upon an apple or pear : ' Holy 
Angel, chosen of our Lord Jesus Christ, who presidest over ague and fever 
secondary [?], tertian, quartan, and quotidian, break off the ague-fever from 
the servant of God So-and-So, in the name of the Father and of the Son 
and of the Holy Ghost." 

18. " In the event of fever quotidian and tertian : pound green sow- 
thistle, mix it with blessed water of the Holy Epiphany ; spread it well, 
and water it, and write on the first day at sunrise upon his right shoulder 

* Christ is born ' ; on the second day [likewise] ; also write upon an apple 
the Trisagion and the ' Stand we fairly/ 1 and let him eat it fasting. 5 ' 

After these come recipes for preventing the generation of 
lice, for knife-thrusts, for hemorrhage, and several other 
commonplace complaints, which are followed by the prescrip- 
tion : 

23. "For loosing a man who is bound: 2 take a knife that has 
committed murder, and, when the person who is bound goes to bed, let 
him place the knife between his legs, and go to sleep. And when he 
awakes, let him utter these words : 'As this knife has proved capable of 
committing murder, that is to say, of killing a man, even so may mine own 
body prove capable of lying with my wife ; and he forthwith lies with his 

24. "When one disowns his wedded wife coeatque cum scorto, take 
stercus uxoris simile stercoris scorti and therewith fumigate the man's clothes 
secretly, and he will straightway conceive an aversion for her. Likewise 
in the event of the reverse." 

25. " For one possessed of demons : let the sufferer wear the glands 
from the mouth of a fish, and let him be fumigated with them, and the 
demons will flee from him." 

A somewhat similar treatment is recommended for the gout 
{podagra). Then comes : 

1 These are the words which the deacon says in the part of the liturgy known 
as the Anaphora. 

2 v. supra p. 171 n^ Cp. analogous documents from the Aegean W. H. D. Eouse, 

* Folk-lore from the Southern Sporades,' in Folk-Lore, June 1899, pp. 156 foil. 

Spirits and Spells 233 

27. " For curing [?] the bite of serpents and other wild beasts, and that 
they may not touch him, not even the dogs, but flee from him : pound 
sorrel and [?], and strain [?] them well, and then smear with the juice of 
all, and you shall marvel." 

28. " To succeed in fishing : let the fisher wear on him sand-fleas, 
bound up in dolphin skin, and he is always successful." 

29. "To pacify one's enemies: write the psalm 'Known in Judaea,' 
dissolve it in water, and give your enemy to drink thereof, and he will be 

31. " That wayfarers may not become weary : let them carry in their 
belts nerves from a crane's legs." 

32. "For a startled and frightened man : take 3 dry chestnuts and 
sow-thistle and 3 glasses of old wine, and let hirn drink thereof early and 
late ; write also the ' In the beginning was the word ' by the aid of Jesus, 
and let him carry it." 

34. " For ague : cut 3 pieces of bread and write on the 1st ' Love the 
Father,' on the 2nd ' Life the Son,' on the 3rd ' Comfort the Holy Ghost. 
Amen.' And when the shivering and the fever commence, let the patient 
perform 3 genuflexions in the name of St John the Forerunner 1 and let him 
eat the 1st piece, and the fever will leave off. And, if it does not leave off 
at the first, do the same thing at the second. Truth for ever." 

Omitting some comparatively ordinary remedies for ailments 
of the stomach, " for drawing a tooth without the use of forceps 
or iron," heartache, and a " marvellous " cure for cough, we 
come to a humorous recipe: 

40. " For a bleeding nose : say to the part whence the blood flows, 
secretly in the ear (!) 'mox, pax, ripx,' and it will stop." 

The following is a remedy recommended to the attention of 
advocates of total abstinence : 

41. "For preventing a man from getting drunk : put two ounces of 
[unfortunately the name conveys nothing to the present writer]; give it 
to him every morning to drink, and he will not get drunk." 

41b. " To make a woman have milk : take a cow's hoof and burn it 
well, give it to the woman to eat or drink it." 

42. " That thou mayst not fear thief or robber : take the herb named 
azebotanon, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy 
Ghost, and carry it wherever thou wishest to walk, and, with God's help, 
thou shalt not be afraid." 

1 v. supra p. 65 n. 

234 Macedonian Folklore 

43. " To stop a serpent coming towards thee : when thou seest it 
coming towards thee say these words : ' Moses set a javelin, deliverer from 
harmful things, upon a column and a rod, in the form of a cross, and upon 
it he tied an earth-crawling serpent, and thereby triumphed over the evil. 
Wherefore we shall sing to Christ our God ; for he has been glorified '." 

47. " That a woman may become pregnant : take the gall of a he-goat, 
and let the husband smear his body therewith at the moment when he is 
going to lie with his wife." 

49. " In case of a fright : write upon new paper : ' Elohim God,' and 
this character &x o^ and carry it." 

50. a To cure a woman of hemorrhage write on a piece of papyrus, 
and tie it to her belly with 1 thread, and say the i Our Father ' and the 
following prayer : * The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of 
Jacob, the God who stayed the river Mortham on the 6th day, stay also 
the flowing of the blood of thy servant So-and-So, and the seal of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. Stand we fairly, stand we with fear of God, Amen. And 
may the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John cure the patient.' 
Write this on an olive, leaf 1 1 d- x o= v <j> 0" 

Several recipes follow for toothache, eyesores, and swarms 
of ants. Then comes another prescription for the " loosing of 
a bound man " : 

55. "Take cotton pods and bind them with 12 knots 1 and say over 
his head : w In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy 
Ghost,' and also say these words : * Let the limbs of So-and-So be set free, 
as Lazarus was set free from the tomb V 

After an uninteresting prescription for earache we have 
another cure : 

57. "For ague and fever : write on a cup the exorcism : these names : 
'Christ was born, Christ was crucified, Christ is risen. Our Lord Jesus 
Christ being born in Bethlehem of Judaea, leave, head-demon, the servant 
of God So-and-So ; in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost, now and ever and in the aeons \" 

After two more ordinary prescriptions, the text continues on 
the favourite subject : 

59. " For the loosing of a man : write these words on a piece of bread, 
and give it to him to eat: 'akoel, eisvil, ampelouras, perimarias, kame- 
nanton, ektilen, ekpeilen, vriskadedeos, dedeousa.' Tosyphasatodios has 
discovered this loosing," 


Spirits and Spells 235 

A remedy for " heat in the head " and two for sore eyes come 
next, and then the following charm : 

62. " For pain in the breast say this prayer : * St Kosmas and 
Damian, 1 Cyrus and St John, St Nicholas and St Akindynos, who hold 
the scythes and cut the pain, cut also the pain of the servant of God 

63. " When a man is possessed of a demon, or [illegible], or phantasm, 
write on [illegible] paper on the 6th day, on a waning moon, and let him 
hold it ; also say in his right ear : ' In the name of the Father and of the Son 
and of the Holy Ghost.' This phylactery was given to Moses in Egypt by 
the Archangel Michael. Afterwards it was given to King Solomon, that 
he might smite therewith every unclean spirit, either of illness, or of fear, or 
of fright, or of ague-fever, either tertian or quotidian, or of encounter, or of 
temptation, or infernal, or oblique [?], or created by magic, or deaf, or once [?], 
or speaking, or speechless, 2 or of epilepsy, or lying-by, or setting-forth, or of 
first and second encounter or of meeting. God is the helper of thy servant 
So-and-So. Through Diadonael, ebarras. Preserve in every time, day, 
and night, and hour ; preserve him, God, from all mischief and all peril. 
God hath reigned in the aeons. Amen. Stand we fairly, stand we with 
fear of God '." 

Two pages of common prescriptions are followed by a dis- 
sertation on the virtues of various herbs, and more prescriptions 
for a large number of diseases. Fumigation is again recom- 
mended for people troubled with demons or phantasms, and 
special herbs are indicated. Then comes a variety of plasters, 
and the MS. ends with a fragment of a prescription : 

106. " For a man whose wife has run away : write the name of the man 
and the woman on paper [half a word]? 

The rest, most unfortunately, is missing. 3 

1 On July 1st and Nov. 1st (O.S.) is held the feast of these two saints who are 
collectively known by the name of Anargyroi (Kooyta koX Aa/juavov t&p 'Avapytipwv). 
In Russian mythology these two saints have usurped the functions of the old 
Slavonic Vulcan, or divine blacksmith (Kuznets), and are treated as one under 
the double name Kuz'ma-Dem'yan. See Ralston, Songs of the Russian People, 
p. 199. 

2 Cp. «« He rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf 
spirit, I charge thee come out of him." Mark ix. 25. 

s For some more recipes of the same type see Appendix IV. 

236 Macedonian Folklore 

The Small-Pox. 

Somewhat similar to the Scarlatina rite is the treatment 
prescribed for the Small-pox. This terrible scourge is both 
by the modern Greeks and by the Slavs conceived of, and 
personified, as a supernatural female being. The Servians call 
her bogine or "goddess/' and the Greeks designate her by 
various flattering epithets, such as the " Gracious " or " Pitiful " 
(S^vyx^p^h^y 1 and Vloya, a name which is by some con- 
sidered a euphemistic term meaning a "Blessing" (BXoyia from 
H&vXoyta) ; others, however, take it to mean nothing more than 
a vulgar inflammation (evcfyXoyla), Among the Greeks of 
Macedonia both the personification and the euphemism are 
emphasized by the term "Lady Small-Pox" (Kvpa UXoyid), 
applied to the disease. 

She is propitiated in the following manner: A stool or a 
small table, covered with a snow-white cloth, is placed beside 
the bed in which the patient is lying. Upon it are laid two 
or three buns (aifiirta) and bouquets of flowers, adorned 
with gold leaf. The room is kept scrupulously clean and 
tidy, so that the " Lady " may not be offended. No spinning, 
knitting, weaving, or any other " woman's labour," is allowed in 
the dwelling throughout the " Lady's " presence in it ; for it is 
believed that she likes to repose upon the wool and cotton. 
For a like reason there is no washing of clothes with hot w T ater, 
lest the steam should disturb the goddess. These negative 
attentions are supplemented by the sprinkling of honey over 
the walls in various parts of the house, and especially in the 
sick-room, that the goddess may taste thereof, and her temper 
may contract some of its sweetness. She is further conciliated 
in some places by sugar-plums scattered over the stairs, and by 
instrumental music, though singing is strictly prohibited. These 
efforts at rendering the goddess sweet-tempered are reinforced 
by the benedictions used by visitors. Instead of the customary 
wish " May the illness be transient " {irepaaraca vavat), in case 

1 Cp. the Celtic appellation of the Small-Pox, 'the good woman,' J. G. 
Campbell, Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, p. 237. 

Spirits and Spells 237 

of Small-pox people wish " May she be sweet as honey " (yu,e to 
/jueXc tt;? vavai). 

The Bulgarians also treat the bogine with every token of 
fear-inspired respect. They also regard her in the light of a 
feminine deity; but, not content with making the best of her 
presence, they endeavour to speed her departure as delicately 
and politely as possible. According to an old tradition, when 
the Small-pox wishes to quit the village, she expresses her 
desire to someone in his sleep and points out the place to which 
she would like to be conveyed. " The person thus designated 
takes bread smeared with honey, salt, and a flask of wine, and 
leaves them, before sunrise, at the appointed spot. After this 
the epidemic disappears, having accompanied the bearer of the 
food out of the village." 1 

The Russians, again, entertain the awkward superstition that 
vaccination is a sin equivalent to impressing upon children " the 
seal of Antichrist," and that whoever dies of small-pox " will 
walk in the other world in golden robes " — a superstition which 
Professor Buslaef has attempted to account for by tracing 
a relationship between the modern personification of the 
disease and the spectral creature known to the ancient Greeks 
by the name of 'AX^r©, — a bugbear with which nurses 
frightened naughty children. He remarks that this name is 
supposed to be akin to that of the German Elbe, and the 
English Elves, and he refers to the kindred word akcfros, which 
means a skin disease, apparently a form of leprosy. 2 

From this it would seem that the Slavonic conception 
differs little from the modern Greek, and that both are possibly 
connected with a classical goddess, who, in her turn, may be 
regarded as a sort of cousin or aunt to our own Elves. This 
theory elucidates to a certain extent the family connexions of 
the terrible female, but it does not carry us very far towards 
ascertaining her more remote genealogy. 

The Plague (Uavov/cXa) is also pictured by popular imagina- 
tion as a gaunt and grim old hag, with deep-sunk eyes, hair 

1 Ealston, Songs of the Russian People, pp. 401-2. 

2 lb. p. 403. 

238 Macedonian Folklore 

dishevelled, and hollow cheekvS. The name nravovKKa is applied 
as a term of abuse to females whose appearance corresponds 
with that picture. It is also used as a synonym for everything 
that is filthy and foul : 

'A7T o^Q) kovkXcl, 1 
Awo fieaa iravovicXa 

" Outward fair as a doll, 
Within foul as the plague," 

a proverb conveying the same idea as the Biblical phrase 
" whited sepulchres." 


Protection against evil is sought in many other ways, 
the commonest being the use of phylacteries or charms. At 
Melenik I was favoured by a gentleman of that town with a 
view of a charm of this nature, drawn up by a priest of the 
eighteenth century for the use of the present owner s great 
grandfather. The document was dated 1774 and consisted of 
long strips of paper rolled in a piece of linen and originally 
sewed up in a leather bag, which again was kept in a small 
silver case. The exorcism begins with a long list of gentlemen 
saints and martyrs called upon to protect " the servant of God 
Ducas." Then follows an invocation of the "All-Blessed, 
All-Holy Lady Mother of God" to help "the s. of G. D." 
After this comes another long list of lady saints and martyrs ; 
of prophets and of all the heavenly hosts of angels and 
archangels : dominions, cherubim, and seraphim. These powers 
are adjured to ward off many and manifold diseases, difficult to 
identify. After a doxology : " Glory be to the Father and to 
the Son and to the Holy Ghost/' comes a vigorous and 
exhaustive anathema against the enemies of "the servant of 
God Ducas": 

1 This is one of the very few words of Slavonic origin in modern Greek. In 
Russian kukla (dim. kukolka) designates any sort of puppet, or other figure 
representing either man or beast. By the modern Greeks it is chiefly applied 
to a feminine doll. 

Spirits and Spells 239 

" As the leaders [or messengers, lit. spokesmen] of the 
demons were bound and bridled, even so may be bound the 
enemies of the s. of G. D. : their tongues, their lips, and their 
hearts; their nerves, and their joints, and their eyes to the end 
of his life. And, if any of them should assault the s. of G. D., 
bind ye their feet, that they may not be able to run ; bind ye 
their hands, that they may not be able to handle musket or 
sword, or to hurl a spear upon the s. of G. D. May the bullet, 
which they may shoot at the s. of G. D., be turned by the herb 1 
into cotton-wool, and may the Archangel Michael push it aside 
to a distance of three fathoms from the s. of G. D., and may 
the s. of G. D. escape scatheless, and may the enemies of the 
s. of G. D. be bound. As were bound the mouths of the lions 
before the holy martyrs, even so may their mouths be bound 
before the s. of G. D. May the fire of their muskets become 
ether, and their swords cotton-wool. Save, Lord, the s. of 
G. D. and chase away the Eastern and Northern and Western 
and Southern demons, that they may hold aloof from the 
s. of G. D., and in the name of the Great God Sabaoth 
I exorcise the seventy-two diseases 2 from which man surfers. 
Flee from the s. of G. D. : whether you come down from the 
sky, or from a star, or from the sun, or from the moon, or from 
darkness, or from a cold wind, or from water, or from lightning, 
or from an earthquake, or from a wound, or from murder, or 
from valley, or from plain, or from river, or from field ; either 
in garden, or orchard, or park, or in the crossing of two or 
three roads, or in the way-in or the way-out of a bath, oven, 
consecrated ground ; either at a gate or a wicket, in attic or 
cellar, threshing-floor, etc/' 3 [The strain continues in picturesque 

Next comes an adjuration of more subtle complaints. 
" From poison or envy, or jealousy, or from evil shameless 

1 This allusion is as obscure as the holy father's grammar and spelling. 
Perhaps a miraculous herb accompanied the exorcism originally. 

2 With the seventy-two diseases mentioned here cp. the seventy-two veins of 
the head referred to in a charm against sunstroke from the isle of Cos in 
W. H. D. Bouse, 'Folk-lore from the Southern Sporades,' Folk-Lore, June 
1899, p. 166. 

3 Cp. a charm against erysipelas ib. p. 168. 

240 Macedonian Folklore 

eyes, or from sorcery, or any other exalted calamity, or from 
Spirit of the Air, or Nereid, or one of those that flit through 
the air in darkness and have come to injure the s. of G. D. 
O Lord preserve him ! Lord guard him from rein-disease, 
hand-disease, etc., etc., etc. I exorcise you all ; for it is not 
just that you should attack the s. of G. D." [The writer 
concludes with a conscientious, though somewhat tedious 
enumeration of all the parts of Mr Ducas's face, head, 
limbs, etc.] 1 

This extraordinary document — in tone and style so like 
parts of the Litany — affords a good illustration of the com- 
promise by which Christianity has adopted pagan beliefs too 
firmly-rooted to be swept away. The names of heathen gods, 
which must have figured in ancient charms of this kind, were 
superseded by those of saints and martyrs, of prophets and 
angels, and a Hebrew pantheon was established in the place 
of the Hellenic. The same process occurred in most countries 
where Christianity supplanted an older cult, as for example in 
Russia. 2 Although Pan has been chased off the highways of 
modern Europe, he is not dead, as has been prematurely reported. 
He has only retired to a quiet country life. 3 

The Prophet Elijah (Upo^r 'HXtV or "M f HAia<?) who 
among the Slavs has inherited the attributes of the Thunder- 
God Perun 4 — their representative of the Teutonic Thor — in the 
modern Greek Pantheon seems to fill the throne vacated by 
the ancient r/ H?Uo?, the Sun, or of Apollo the God of Light. 
The highest summits of mountains are generally dedicated 
to him and are often chosen for his shrines. He is also, like 
Apollo of old, regarded as a Healer — a capacity recognized by 
the Church in whose Hagiology he is described as empowered 
to "drive away diseases and to purify lepers, wherefore he 

1 For extracts from the original see Appendix V. 

2 Ealston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 363. 

3 Mr Tylor, a propos of tree-worship in India observes: "The new 
philosophic religion (viz. Buddhism) seems to have amalgamated, as new 
religions ever do, with older native thoughts and rites." Primitive Culture, 
vol. ii. p. 218. We shall find further instances of this amalgamation in the 
case of the wood and water nymphs of the Macedonians. 

4 Ealston, Russian Folk-Tales, pp. 337 foil. 

Spirits and Spells 241 

showers remedies upon those who honour him." (Nocrcw 
(ujrohiGMcei kclI Xeirpovs icaOapi^ei, Slo fcal to?<? TifJL&criv avrov 
ftpvet Idfiara.) The similarity between the names 'HAia? and 
"HXios seems to have helped, if not originated, this identifi cation 
of characters. 

Lunatics and all persons possessed (SatfAovHr pivot) are 
recommended to the mercy of St Anthony, whose celebrated 
exploits in the field of vision and demoniacal temptation 
render him an appropriate and duly qualified patron of patients 
similarly afflicted. 1 

Cripples and the blind have a ready succourer in St All- 
Merciful ( r/ A'i UavrekerjiLovas), hence the popular saying: "Be 
they lame, be they blind, they all flock to St All-Merciful." 
(KovTcroi <TTpa/3ol '? top r/ Ai THavreXe^fiova.) 

St Modestos, in accordance with the humility implied by 
his name, is content with a provincial practice as cattle-doctor, 
and he is deeply revered by shepherds and farmers. 

St Nicholas is held in even higher esteem by sea-farers. 
There is no vessel, great or small, upon Greek waters, which 
has not the saint's icon in its stern, with an ever-burning lamp 
in front of it, or a small silver-plated picture of the saint 
attached to its mast. In time of storm and stress it is the 
name of St Nicholas that instinctively rises to the lips of the 
Greek mariner, and to him candles are promised, and vows 
registered. He is to the modern sailor all that Poseidon was 
to his ancestors. 2 The fires of St Elmo which the ancients 
ascribed to the Twins (Aiocrfcovpoi, Gemini), the tutelar deities 
of sailors, are by the modern Greek mariners called TeXwvta 
or c Devils ' and treated as such : the sailors look upon them as 
presages of disaster and try to frighten them away by dint of 
exorcisms and loud noises — an instance of beneficent pagan 
deities degraded to the rank of malignant demons, a process 
of which we shall see several other illustrations in the sequel. 

1 This, it will be acknowledged, is a far more honourable role than the one 
assigned to the saint by the Eoman Church, where St Anthony is the patron 
and protector of nothing more exalted than pigs. 

2 For further details concerning this substitution of Christian saints for 
Pagan gods in the Greek Church see Sir Rennell Rodd, The Customs and Lore of 
Modern Greece, pp. 140 foil. 

A. P. 16 

242 Macedonian Folklore 


The Ayeriko is only one variety of a group of supernatural 
beings included in the generic Dame of 'E|<a>T£/ea. Under this 
comprehensive head are classed many species of spirits, not 
always easy to differentiate. By far the most eminent of them 
are the feminine deities known as Neraides (Neptu'Se?) to 
the Southern Macedonians as well as to the rest of the Greeks, 
and as Samovilas to the inhabitants of the northern districts, 
such as Melenik — a name curiously compounded of two Slavonic 
words Samodiva and Vila. In default of a more accurate 
equivalent, we may call them Fairies, though, as will soon 
appear, they differ in many important points from the beings 
so designated in Northern Europe. These nymphs of modern 
Greek mythology are very closely related to the Naiads, 
Hamadryads, and Oreads of classical antiquity on , one hand, 
and to the Rusalkas of the Russians, the Vilas of the Servians, 
and the Samodivas of the Bulgarians on the other. They are 
represented as tall and slim, clad in white, with flowing golden 
hair, and divinely beautiful, so much so that the highest 
compliment which can be paid to a Greek maiden is to compare 
her in loveliness to a Neraida — a form of adulation not neglected 
by the Greek lover. 1 In the same way " lovely as a Vila" is a 
common expression among the Servians. 2 In malice the Greek 
Neraides equal their Servian sisters. In an amatory distich 
the outraged swain can find no stronger language, in which to 
denounce his sweetheart's cruelty, than by addressing her as 
" a Neraida's offspring." 3 

The beauty of these southern fairies is fatal to the beholder, 
and many are the stories told of people who, by exposing them- 
selves to its fascination, were bereft of speech, or otherwise 
suffered. The dumbness of an old man near Nigrita was put 
down to an early encounter of this kind. He was returning 
home one night across the fields, when he perceived, under a 

1 See Passow, Disticha Amatoria, No. 692. 

2 Ealston, Songs of the Russian People^ p. 147. 

3 Passow, ubi supra, No. 653. 

Spirits and Spells 243 

tree by the path-side, a young woman adorned with pieces of 
gold {fyXovpia), such as are usually worn by peasant maids on 
festive occasions. She looked " like a bride " (aav vv(f>7)) and 
was exceedingly fair. But no sooner did the peasant accost 
her than he lost his power of speech ; " his tongue was tied " 
(Sed/ce rj yXwaad t), and remained so ever after. You should 
on no account speak to a Neraida ; \Lf you do, "she takes away 
your voice " (ae iraipvei rrj cfxovr)). • A similar opinion was once 
held in England regarding the Fairies : " he that speaks to 
them, shall die," says Falstaff. 1 

Unlike the fairies of the North, these beings are all of one 
sex, and they form no community, but generally lead an isolated 
existence, dwelling chiefly in trees and fountains. The traveller 
in Macedonia often sees newly-built fountains decorated with 
cotton or wool threads of many colours. These threads are 
torn by wayfarers from their dress on seeing the fountain for 
the first time. They alight, and, after having slaked their 
thirst in the waters of the fountain, leave these offerings as 
tokens of gratitude to the presiding nymph. In like manner 
the peasants of Little Russia propitiate the Rusalkas by hanging 
on the boughs of oaks and other trees rags and skeins of thread 2 ; 
the negro tribes of West Africa adorn similarly the trees by the 
road-side, and even in distant Japan we find parallels to this all 
but universal custom. The peasants of that country are in the 
habit of decking out the sacre3 tree of the village with a fringe 
formed of a straw-rope and pendants of straw and paper. 3 

All springs and wells, all forests and trees, are haunted by 
these wood and water nymphs to-day, as they were in the days 
of yore. Christianity has degraded, but has proved unable to 
suppress their cult. In some cases the water-nymphs have not 
been banished, but only converted to Christianity. The Church 
has sanctioned the popular faith by substituting Christian saints 
in lieu of the old pagan deities. Many springs in Macedonia 
are known and venerated as ' sacred waters ' (dyidajbuaTa) 

1 Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor, Act v. Sc. 5. 

2 Ralston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 141. 

3 H. Munro Chad wick, The Oak and the Thunder-God, Anthropological 
Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Jan. 9, 1900. 


244 Macedonian Folklore 

dedicated to St Friday (* Ay cci Uapaa-fcevrj) and St Solomone 
among feminine saints, or to St Paul and St Elias among their 
male colleagues. The water of such springs is regarded as 
efficacious against diseases, especially eye-complaints. They 
are generally enclosed within a stone parapet, and sometimes 
roofed in, as a protection from accidental pollution. Even 
so stood enclosed the "fair-flowing fountain built by man's 
hand, whence the citizens of Ithaca drew water," and close 
to it "an altar erected in honour of the Nymphs, upon 
which the wayfarers offered sacrifice." 1 Like the Homeric 
" fountain of the Nymphs," many a modern ' holy spring ' is 
overshadowed by " water-bred poplars," or broad-leaved fig-trees, 
and weeping willows. 

With regard to the Neraides as tree-spirits, the precise 
relation of the nymph to the tree is not easy to define. 
It is not clear whether the Macedonian folk look upon these 
spirits as dwelling in the trunks of the trees, animating them, 
as a man's soul animates his body, or whether they regard the 
trees as simply affording shelter to them. 2 The latter view 
seems to be the one most commonly held. Be that as it may, 
trees are most sincerely believed to be the haunts of nymphs, 
and this belief leads the peasant to many curious acts of 
omission and commission. Labourers working out in the fields 
are careful not to lie down in the shade of a tree. They 
especially eschew the plane, the poplar, and the fig-tree ; for 
these are the favourite abodes of fairies. It is beneath the 
foliage of these trees that they love to repose at midday, and 
ill fares the mortal who dares disturb them. It is related 
that many, who, neglecting this rule, sought a refuge from the 
scorching rays of the midday sun under such a tree, had reason 
to rue their temerity. The fairy is apt to resent the liberty by 
inflicting a stroke upon the offender. This penalty is known 

1 Horn. Od. xvn. 206-211. 

2 The same ambiguity attends the worship of tree- spirits in all lands. 
According to one theory the spirit is viewed by the believer "as incorporate in 
the tree." "But, according to another and probably later opinion, the tree 
is not the body, but merely the abode of the tree-spirit." J. G. Frazer, The 
Golden Bough, vol. i. p. 180. 

Spirits and Spells 245 

as ogratisma. The person who has incurred the displeasure 
of the supernatural tenant, or guardian spirit, of the tree can 
only atone for his trespass by a special ceremony. This consists 
in sprinkling honey round the trunk of the tree and in de- 
positing at its root a number of small sweet cakes prepared for 
the purpose. It is believed that the nymph on partaking of 
this expiatory sacrifice will be appeased and restore the patient 
to health. 

In close analogy to this superstition stands the belief of the 
ancients, according to which Pan rested from his labours at 
noon-tide : " 'Tis not meet, O shepherd, for us, 'tis not meet to 
play the pipe at midday. We fear Pan ; for in very truth at 
that hour he rests his weary limbs from the fatigue of the 
chase, and he is harsh and cruel : fierce wrath ever sits upon 
his nose!" 1 Similarly the Lusatians at the present day hold 
that the Pripolnica — a species of the Rusalka — appears in the 
fields exactly at noon, holding a sickle in her hand. 2 

It is a well-established fact that huts and houses and all 
more or less elaborate dwellings are the result of a relatively 
modern invention, and that our remote forefathers were content 
to live and die beneath the roofs afforded by the foliage of the 
trees. An extremely interesting, albeit unconscious, remi- 
niscence of this primordial state of the human race is embedded 
in a Macedonian superstition. As the trees so the projecting 
eaves of the houses (acrrp trials) — which correspond to the 
outspreading boughs — are believed by the Macedonians to be 
haunted by Nymphs. For this reason it is not lawful to 
commit a nuisance under them. Thus the Nymphs are made 
to fulfil the duties of policemen, and they do it most effectively. 
He who transgresses the regulations of these invisible powers 
is sure to pay for his disobedience with a broken limb or some 
other equally unpleasant experience (da ov^pariarj). 

The prevailing ideas as to the looks, habits, and character 
of the Macedonian Neraides are well illustrated by a widely- 
known legend which I heard at Melenik. 

1 Theocr. Id. i. 15 foil. 

2 Balston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 147. 

246 Macedonian Folklore 

The Shepherd and the Nymphs. 

There was once a shepherd who one moonlit summer night 
tended his flock in a meadow. Suddenly he was startled by the 
sound of many musical instruments, such as drums and pipes, 
in the distance. The sounds drew nearer and nearer, and at last 
there appeared before him a long chain of maids dressed in long 
white robes and dancing to the tune. The leader of the dance 
(irpcoTocrvpTos) was a youth carrying in one hand the wooden 
wine-flagon (plotska or tchotra) used by the peasants. He 
halted in front of the shepherd and held the flagon out to him. 
The shepherd accepted the offer, but before proceeding to raise 
the flagon to his lips, he, according to the custom of the 
country, made the sign of the cross. When lo and behold ! 
both dancers and leader vanished, the music ceased, and the 
shepherd was left alone, holding in his hand in lieu of the 
flagon a human skull ! His piety saved him from any con- 
sequences more serious than a wholesome fright. 

One is strongly tempted to see in this legend a lingering 
memory of the Muses and their chorus-leader Apollo. 

A story of a similar type was told me on another occasion 
at Cavalla by a native of Chios. There is in that island a bridge 
called the Maid's Bridge (r?)? fcoprj? to ye^vpi) and popularly 
believed to be haunted by a Water-Spirit. Early one morning 
a man was crossing the bridge on his way from the village of 
Daphnona to the capital city (^dopa), when he met a tall young 
woman dressed in white. She took him by the hand and made 
him dance with her. He was foolish enough to speak and was 
immediately struck dumb. He recovered, however, some days 
after, thanks to the prayers and exorcisms of a priest. 

One more feature these nymphs have in common with our 
Fairies, and that is their propensity to carry off new-born 
children. On this practice, and the means used to avert the 
danger, I have dwelt at some length in a former chapter. 1 
Here I will try to make the conception of the Nymph a little 
more vivid by relating another story from Melenik. 

1 v. supra, p. 125. 

Spirits and Spells 247 

The Prince and the Nymph, 

There was once a young prince who had a mother, and who 
without her knowledge maintained relations with the sylvan 
nymphs (Yougovitsas) who dwelt in the palace-garden. He 
was wedded to the fairest of them. Neither she nor any of 
her companions would permit the prince to hold oral com- 
munication with any of his friends, or even with his own 
mother, nor would they allow him to admit a mortal into the 
garden. His mother, not knowing the cause of his strange 
behaviour, was deeply distressed, and had recourse to a friend 
of hers who had three daughters exquisitely beautiful. She 
took the eldest of them home to the palace to wait on the 
prince, in the hope that he might be induced by the damsel's 
charms to break his silence. But all her efforts were in vain. 
He remained dumb. The prince's mother then brought to the 
palace the second daughter ; but she was equally unsuccessful. 
At last the youngest of the three maidens begged to take her 
sister's place. Her request was granted, and she began to wait 
on the prince. She made his bed, assisted him at his ablutions, 
laid the table for him, but she never addressed a word to him. 
Instead, she carried about with her a kitten, and addressed 
her remarks to it. The prince's mother, who listened at the 
keyhole, imagined that the maid had succeeded in overcoming 
the youth's taciturnity and carried on a conversation with him, 
and she was therefore overjoyed and happy. One day she begged 
the maid to ask permission from the prince for herself and her 
to take a walk in the garden. The maid on hearing this 
was plunged into grief, for she never hoped to loosen the 
prince's tongue. She went in and out of the room in very 
low spirits. The prince, who had already been fascinated by 
the maid's charms, on seeing her so sad began to speak to his 
candlestick — for, as has been said before, he was forbidden to 
address a human being. He spoke and said : " My dear candle- 
stick, wherefore art thou so sad ? " 

The maid readily seized the opportunity, and answered: 
" My dear candlestick, I am so sad because thy mother wants 
permission for herself and me to take a walk in the garden." 

248 Macedonian Folklore 

The prince replied : 

" My dear candlestick, you have my permission to go and 
walk in the garden to-morrow morning ; but you must quit the 
grounds before the sun rises." 

On the morrow, long before dawn, the princes mother, 
accompanied by the maid and several female servants, entered 
the garden and walked about admiring its many beauties, for 
the Nymphs tended it. When the sun was on the point of 
rising, they hastened to depart ; but ere they could reach 
the gates the sun burst upon them. As they were drawing 
near the gates, they perceived a child's cot hanging from a 
tree, and in the cot there reposed a beautiful baby. Then 
the maid took off the red gauze kerchief, which she wore 
folded across her bosom, and covered the baby's face with it, 
in order to protect it from the rays of the sun. Soon after 
this they quitted the garden. 

The prince later in the day came to the garden ; for he 
was compelled to spend most of his time with his nymph -wife 
and her friends. The latter was so deeply moved by the maid's 
kindness to her baby, that she gave the prince leave to break 
his silence and marry the fair maid, and all at once both she and 
her nymph-companions vanished from the garden, carrying off 
the baby with them. The prince, elated with joy, returned to 
the palace, embraced his mother with tears in his eyes, and 
explained the cause of his long silence. He solemnized his 
wedding with the poor maid, and they lived happy ever 

In this story another trait common to the Gaelic sithche or 
Fairy is brought out, namely the anxiety of the nymphs to form 
connexions with mortals who are held in love's sweet bondage 
sorely against their will. 1 These misalliances were familiar to 
the nymphs of old, but they never prospered. The reader will 
remember the romantic attachment of Kalypso, the fairy-queen 
of Ogygeia, to the elderly homesick hero, who scorned her love 
and all her promises of perennial youth and immortality, longing 

1 Cp. J. G. Campbell, Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 
p. 41. 

Spirits and Spells 249 

for nothing but his middle-aged spouse and the rugged shores 
of his native isle. 1 

From the above sketch it will be seen that the Macedonian 
nymphs, though they bear a certain degree of resemblance to 
the Celtic Fairies, and to the Slavonic Rusalkas, Vilas and 
Samodivas, are really identical with the southern Neraides, 
who, notwithstanding a general likeness to the beings just 
mentioned, have an individuality of their own and are fully 
entitled to be regarded as direct descendants of the classical 
Nymphs. 2 It was not, of course, to be expected that the 
ancient idea should have remained unaltered, and we ac- 
cordingly find that it has undergone such modifications as 
lapse of time and intercourse with other nations were bound 
to bring about. The principal point of difference between the 
old and the new nymph is one of character. The modern 
Neraida is as a general rule represented as a malicious fiend 
to be propitiated or conciliated, and failing that, to be exorcised 
as an unclean spirit. This degeneration is most probably due 
to the influence of Christianity. The Nymphs have shared the 
fate of their betters, the greater gods and goddesses of antiquity. 
Their honours, when they could not possibly or conveniently be 
abolished, were transferred to saints, and the poor Nymphs, 
like all dethroned deities, have had to sink to the level of 
demons : discredit a god and exorcise him. 

Wood-Spirits and Water-Spirits. 

In addition to the Neraides, the Macedonians recognize the 
existence of various other supernatural beings known as " Spirits 
of the Elements " (2T<H%e6<x). The word, in the sense of the 
four primary elements — namely, fire, water, air and earth — 
dates from the time of Plato. 3 The Neo-Platonists subse- 

1 Horn. Od. i. 13 foil. ; v. 13 foil. 

2 See Tozer, Researches in the Highlands of Turkey, vol. n. p. 314; Bernhard 
Schmidt, Das Volksleben der Neugriechen und das hellenische Alter £/mm, passim; 
Kalston, Songs of the Russian People, preface to 2nd ed. 1872. 

3 (TToix € ^ a r °£ iravros, ' elements of the universe,' Plat. Tim. 48 b. These 
are the pifcfywtra or * roots ' of Empedocles. 

250 Macedonian Folklore 

quently applied it to the spirits which were supposed to 
animate the four elements. At a still later date, the name 
came to mean spirits or demons generally. Nowadays it is 
applied both to demons and to human souls or ghosts, in fact 
to spiritual beings of all denominations. The confusion is 
evidently due to the universal animistic doctrine, according to 
which " Souls of dead men are considered as actually forming 
one of the most important classes of demons or deities." 1 We 
shall first treat of the ^rot^ta as demons, and afterwards as 
ghosts, although it is not always easy to draw the line between 
the two classes. 

These demons reside in woods, hills, dales, rivers and 
fountains. There is hardly a nook or corner of Macedonia 
so insignificant as not to boast one or more of these spirits, 
who make their presence felt and feared in various more or 
less ingenious ways. Thus Mount Ecato, near the village of 
Sochos in the Chalcidic Peninsula, reechoes both by night and 
by day with shrill laughter, loud wailing, and other weird 
sounds, which proceed not from mortal lungs. The best thing 
for the traveller to do in the circumstances is to make the 
sign of the cross, muttering : " Holy Cross assist me ! " (%ravpe 
/3o7J0a fxe !) and to hurry on his way. 

Noises of this description are by the Russians attributed to 
the wood-demons. The same demons are also held responsible 
for whirlwinds. In Macedonia, whirlwinds and other injurious 
phenomena of a kindred nature are certainly set down to 
supernatural agency ; but whether to wood-demons as among 
the Slavs, to Djins as among the Mohammedans, or to the 
Neraides as among the southern Greeks, it is hard to deter- 
mine. In any case, they do not attempt to drive the evil being 
away by violent means, but are content to exorcise it. In 
the district of Liakkovikia, the whirlwind is called ave/xo- 
o-irXdha, 2 and during one the people are accustomed to 

1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. n. p. 111. 

2 This term seems to be a compound of avejmos, ivind, and either <nrt\d?, or 
(TirXrjdos (= airodos, ashes, or rather dust, as in Hdt. iv. 172 : ttJs xti/iale? 
crirodov ' dust from the ground '). It is now the fashion among a certain school 
of philologists to ridicule the search for antique terms in Modern Greek. This 

Spirits and Spells 251 

murmur the following curious incantation : " Alexander the 
Great liveth, aye he doth live and reign" (Zrj, t;f) ical 
ftaatkevet 6 M^ya? 'AXe^a^Spo?) 1 — a formula analogous to 
the one formerly uttered by old women at Athens for a similar 
purpose : " Milk and honey in your path." 2 

The inhabitants of Vassilika, a village in the valley of the 
river anciently called Anthemus, have some strange experiences 
to relate concerning a phenomenon locally known as the 
" Passage " (to irepacrfia). It is a rush of wind which suddenly 
rising, as it seems, from the Well of Murat (rov Movpdrrj to 
7T7}ya$i) at one end of the village, sweeps furiously through the 
village and then as suddenly sinks into the Tomb of Ali (rov 
'AXrj to jjuvriiMopt) on the edge of a watercourse at the other end. 
As it speeds on, it fills the countryside with horrible noises 
which sometimes are like the bellowing of cattle, sometimes 
like the bleating of goats or the grunting of pigs, and often 
like the shrieks and wails of human beings. It blasts every- 
thing it blows upon. Whoever happens to be saluted by its 
blighting breath is instantly struck dumb. Some of the 
peasants boast of having followed these mysterious sounds, and 
affirm that they cease on the spot indicated above. Two 
reasons can be assigned for the alleged sudden ceasing of the 

tendency is a natural reaction against the opposite extreme, which was in vogue 
some thirty or forty years ago. Still, no one who has explored the by-ways of 
the Greek world can fail to notice extremely old words and phrases turning up 
at unexpected corners. For the following example I am indebted to M. P. N. 
Papageorgiou. He one day met at Salonica a peasant woman from KoJiakia, a 
small hamlet close to the estuary of the Vardar. She had brought her boy to 
town to consult a doctor. The lad had broken his head by falling 's r<x d\j<ra\a, 
as she expressed it. The word being new to that scholar (as, I venture to think, 
it will be to most Greek scholars), he asked her what she meant by it, and she 
explained "*>d, kcT ttov KoXv/jLTrovae Zireae fxtc 's rrjs Wrpcus." "Don't you see, as 
he was swimming he fell in among the stones." This explanation made it quite 
clear that the word was a survival of an extremely ancient term, which, in 
common with many others, did not happen to find its way into Hellenic 
literature. According to my authority it can be nothing but a compound of 
dv<r- (mis-) and a\$ (the sea) meaning the dangerous or rocky parts of the sea. 

1 A. A. Tovclov, *'H Kara to Udyyaiov Xc£pa,' p. 79. On the lingering 
memories of Alexander and Philip of Macedon, v. infra ch. xv. 

2 Boss, Inselreisen, in. p. 182, in Tozer, Researches in the Highlands of 
Turkey, vol. n. p. 310. 

252 Macedonian Folklore 

noise at that place. If the " Passage " is to be regarded as 
the work or the vehicle of demons, it is bound to stop on the 
bank of the stream as no demon can cross "running water." 
It should be noticed, however, that the gust is said to rise from, 
and to sink into, places connected with the memory of a Turk; 
and, knowing as we do what is the Christian belief concerning 
the ultimate fate of a Turkish soul, we may reasonably surmise 
that the " Passage " is due to the joint efforts of the two dead 
Turkish worthies Murat and Ali. That it is the work of evil 
spirits none can be such a sceptic as to dispute. The fact rests 
on the unimpeachable authority of an old woman of the village 
who assured the writer in the most confident and confidential 
manner imaginable that her own father, " peace to his soul !" 
(0eos cr'xcopecr tov), once as the wind was rushing through the 
village actually saw amid the clouds of dust a child carrying a 
pitcher on either shoulder — a feat of which no ordinary child is 
capable. He pursued the apparition (<f>dvraafjia) down to the 
river-side and there lost sight of it — it vanished as a thing 
of air. 

These manifestations correspond very closely to the gambols 
of the Lyeshy, or wood demon, of Slavonic mythology. He is 
said to be very fond of diverting himself after a similar fashion 
in the woods. " At such times he makes all manner of noises, 
clapping his hands, shrieking with laughter, imitating the 

neighing of horses, the lowing of cows, the barking of dogs 

sometimes by night a forest-keeper would hear the wailing of a 
child, or groans apparently proceeding from some one in the 
agonies of death/' 1 

It would not be difficult to fill a volume with stories 
illustrating the various forms under which these wicked spirits 
appear to the eyes of men. A caravan, it is said, was one night 
going to Yenidje, a town to the west of Salonica. On the way 
they were joined by a little dapple dog (<r/ev\d/cL iraphaXo), 
which, coming no one knew whence, kept worrying the mules. 
One of the muleteers mustered sufficient courage to dismount 
and try to catch it; but he failed ignominiously. This hap- 
pened several times, and every time, as soon as the man 
1 Kalston, Songs of the Bussian People, p. 157. 

Spirits and Spells 253 

stretched out his hand, the dog melted into air {jevovrav 
depas). It did not cease to annoy the party until they reached 
the banks of the Vardar and then it vanished. 

A peasant at Galatista, in the Chalcidic Peninsula, was 
known as Crook-neck (arpafioo-vlxys) and was said to owe his 
deformity to a similar accident. One evening, as he was 
walking home from the fields, he perceived what he took to be 
a harmless, though erring, goat, browzing in a meadow. He 
approached it and was lifting the animal on his shoulder, with 
the laudable intention of taking it as a present to his wife, when 
the goat melted into space, leaving its captor a lasting souvenir 
of the adventure. 

Another peasant told me the following experience. He 
one day alighted with his comrades under a fig-tree which 
stood close to a "Holy Spring " dedicated to St Friday. All 
of a sudden a ball of cotton-wool sprang from the ground 
and rolled down the slope. They pursued it until it stopped 
and shot up into a white column. There it stood for a while 
and then disappeared. 

All these tales embody ideas familiar to the student of 
comparative folk-lore. For instance, the inability of some 
of the apparitions described above to cross a " running stream " 
is a well-known feature of the evil spirits and spectres of the 
Highlands of Scotland, 1 and it forms the basis of Burns's Tarn 
0' Shanter : 

Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg, 
And win the key-stane of the brig ; 
There at them thou thy tail may toss, 
A running stream they dare na cross. 

A similar superstition is alluded to by Scott in the well- 
known lines : 

He 2 led the boy o'er bank and fell, 
Until they came to a woodland brook; 

The running stream dissolved the spell, 
And his own elvish shape he took. 

1 J. G. Campbell, Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 
p. 50. 

2 "Viz. the goblin page, The Lay of the Last Minstrel, c. m. 13. 

254 Macedonian Folklore 

The Karens of Birma, so little like the Scotch Highlanders 
or the Macedonians in other respects, entertain the same 
common notion and exemplify it by stretching threads across 
forest brooks for the ghosts to pass along. 1 

Again, the shapes which the Macedonian phantasms oc- 
casionally assume remind one of the transformation of Celtic 
fairies into deer, of witches into hares, cats, and the like, of the 
devil into a he-goat, of the Glaistig of Ardnadrochit, which 
appeared in the guise of a dog, 2 or of the Slav Marui, who 
sometimes turn themselves into horses or tufts of hair. 3 

The mysterious apparition of a ball of cotton wool may also 
be compared with the practice of Russian witches to change 
into balls of thread and other objects connected, according to 
mythologists, with clouds. 4 

There are many songs illustrating the belief in Water-spirits 
haunting rivers and wells (aroi-^eto rov irorafiov and a-Toi^evo 
tov 7T7]<ya8LOv). The following is one of them. 

To %TOt,%€ico/JLevo UijydSt. 5 

(From Zichna.) 

Ta Tecrcrepa, ra irevTe, ra ivved8ep<f>a y 
Ta Befco^ro) ^aSep<j)ta ra Xiyofiocpa, 
Ta rfpOe jLLTjvvfia dnro top ftacnXrja 
Na irav vd TroXe/Jbrjcrovv /cdrov \ rrj <&pay/cid m 
"Me T7)v €v/crj crov, jjudva fi, vd TrrjyaLvovfie." 
" Na irdr ivved 'Sep<£a/aa ical vdpQr\T o^rco. 
c O Ttdvvrjs vd fifjv epdrj 6 fJLiKpOTepos" 
Xdv Ktvrjaav kol nrdve \ top /bia/cpv/cafjUTOy 
%apdvTa ixepais fcdvovv 8i%o)$ to yfrco/JLL, 
K$ aWacs aapdvTd irevTe Si^co? to vepo, 

1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 442. 

2 J. G. Campbell, ubi supra, p. 175. 

3 Ealston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 133. 4 lb. p. 405. 

5 For a much shorter version of the same incident (17 lines = one half of the 
present text) see Passow, No. 523 'H fjLdyicro~a. I picked up another version 
at Nigrita; but it is inferior to the above both in length (26 lines) and in 
workmanship. At Cavalla I obtained a version of To croix^a rov iroraixov, 
different from the one embodied in Songs of Modern Greece, p. 178. 

Spirits and Spells 255 

Kal ftpiatcovv pud fipvcriTaa, aTovxecoirrjyaho, 
TpidvT opyvtals to /3a#09, nrXdro^ ec/coai. 

" 'Ao-r^Te, dBepcfrd/cia, vd Xa^viorovpe, 
2e 7roiov 8d irea 6 Xa^vb^ icelvos va epLTrfj" 
'S tov Ylclvvt) Trecfrr 6 Xa%vb<? \ tov ficKporepo. 
Tov eSearav rov Ttdvvr] /cat rov diroXvovv 

"Tpa/Sfjre, dSepcfydfcca, va pe fiydXere, 
'ESco vepb Sev €%, pbv e%ei crToi^eicopa^ 

il Tpafiovpe, FLavv y TpafiovjA fxd Be rapd^ecrai." 

" Me TvXii~e to (f>etS\ to aroi^eio pe /cparei, 
Fid /3aXT€ Kal tov fjiavpo va <ra9 fiorjOf)." 
Xdv ciKovae ktj 6 fxavpos ^tXtpeTpiaej 
A Ta yovara crr\K(o6' zee yid va rov fiydXrj* 
%dv fiyd^y t dpfxaTa tov, Xapuirovv Ta ftovvd, 
I$yd£ei icaX to airadi tov, Xapuir f) OdXacrcra, 
Tov /SydXave tov Yidvv fia^v pe to GT0U)(ei6 y 
Hrj/ccocrav Ta yavr^dpia va to /coijrovve, 
M' dvT\$ aTOL^eib va fcoyjrovv, fco<f>TOW to cfkolvl, 
Kat irdr) 6 Tcdvvrj^ p^ecr pe to a-roc^ecd pua^v' 

""Ao~T€ 3 dSep(j>ia } daTe vd TrrjyaiveTe, 
M.rjv TrrJTe TV) pavovXa p, 7ra>9 diroOava, 
Na ttjv ecTrrJT, dbepfyia, tt&s TravTpevTrjtca, 
Tr) irXaica irr\pa iredepd, ttj pavprj <yf)<? yvval/ca, 
K?) avTa Ta Xetavo^oprapa oXa yvvaacahepfyia." 

The Haunted Well 

Four and five, nine brothers, 

Eighteen cousins, lads of little luck: 

A message came to them from the King, bidding them 

To go forth and fight in the far-off land of the Franks : 

"Thy blessing, mother, that we may go forth!" 

" May ye go forth nine brothers and come back eight ; 

May John the youngest never return ! " 

They set forth, and as they crossed the vast plain, 

They lived forty days without bread, 

Forty-five more without water, 

And then they found a dear little fount ; but 'twas a spirit-haunted well : 

J Twas thirty fathoms in depth ; in breadth twenty. 

"Halt, dear brothers, and let us cast lots, 

256 Macedonian Folklore 

He on whom the lot will fall, let him go in." 

The lot falls on John, the youngest. 

They bind John and let him down : 

" Draw, dear brothers, draw me out, 

Here there is no water ; but only a Spirit." 

"We are drawing, John, we are drawing; but thou stirrest not." 

" The serpent has wound itself round my body, the Spirit is holding me. 

Come, set the Black One also to help you." 

When the Black One heard, he neighed loud, 

He reared on his haunches to draw him out. 

When he drew out his arms, the mountains gleamed. 

He draws out his sword also, arid the sea gleamed. 

They drew out John together with the Spirit, 

They lifted their knives, to cut it asunder, 

But instead of cutting the Spirit they cut the rope, 

And John falls in together with the Spirit : 

"Leave me, brothers, leave me and go home, 

Do not tell my dear mother that I am dead, 

Tell her, brothers, that I am married, 

That I have taken the tombstone for a mother-in-law, 

Black Earth for a wife, 
And the fine grass-blades all for brothers and sisters-in-law." 1 ? 

In the ballad of The Haunted Well, as the reader may have 
noticed, there occurs a curious, though by no means uncommon, 
blending of ideas. The Spirit or Demon of the Well is con- 
founded with the Water-Serpent. This confusion between the 
spiritual water-demon and the material water-monster pervades 
the folk-lore of many nations : " it runs into the midst of 
European mythology in such conceptions as that of the water- 
kelpie and the sea-serpent." 2 We shall meet with still more 
flagrant instances of it in dealing with the mythical being 

But ere we cross the fine line which divides the regions of 
living belief from those of idle mythological fiction, we must 

1 The sentiment contained in the last four lines is a commonplace of modern 
Greek folklore. The last two lines especially are repeated verbatim in many 
a ballad : cp. Passow, No. 381 last two lines ; No. 380 last line ; &c. It will be 
observed that the concluding two lines in the original of the above piece are in 
the fifteen- syllable ballad-metre, whereas the rest of the poem is in a twelve- 
syllable metre. 

2 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. n. p. 210. 

Spirits and Spells 257 

mention a monster which, like the Water- Spirit, is actually- 
supposed to haunt wells, rivers, and fountains. This is the 
Black Giant ^kpair^), a* crafty demon of Oriental origin who 
lures the guileless to destruction by various stratagems, as, for 
example, by assuming the form of a fair maid. He is a being 
most sincerely dreaded by the peasantry, and, though not half 
so popular as the Water-Spirit, he is to be met with here and 
there. At Dervinato, a village in the island of Chios, there is 
a spring, or, to use the common Greek expression, a "water- 
mother" (fidva rod vepov, 'fountain-head'), called Plaghia* 
This spring is reputed to be the haunt of a Black Giant, and 
the natives have many adventures of the usual type to relate. 
The Sto^k? and the "KpaiTT)? may be described as Kindred 
Spirits in every sense of the term. 


Besides the spirit denizens of woods and waters, the 
Macedonian peasant owns his belief in a class of spirits which 
make themselves at home in the ordinary human habitations. 
He has no special name for them, but calls them 'Sro^eta, and 
the house "haunted" by them (jToixeitd\xho airirL These 
domestic demons may be divided into two categories. First, 
there are the malignant spirits, which occasionally disturb 
the slumbers of the household by making terrible noises, by- 
throwing bricks and stones down the chimney, by sitting on 
the sleepers' chests in the form of a hideous nightmare or 
' shadow ' (la/cio? or taKtcofia), 1 and by teasing and worrying the 
inmates of the house at unreasonable hours. These seem to be 
the disembodied souls of people who have met with a violent 
death, or whose mortal remains have been buried secretly, 

1 The Macedonian women are in the habit of saying to their children : "Do 
not mock at your shadow, or it will come and sit upon you " (M?p Trep'ye\$$ rbv 
iamb crov yiarl da ae TrXaKuxrrj). M. X. 'Iwavvov, ' Qep/macs, ' p. 34. From this it 
appears that the shadow is by the Macedonians, as by so many other races, 
identified with the soul (see J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, vol. i. pp. 285 foil.), 
and as "the soul of a sleeper is supposed to wander away from his body " 
(ib. pp. 255 foil.), if you anger it, it may return and punish you in the form of a 
nightmare (wXaKuxrr) in its technical sense). 

A. F. 17 

258 Macedonian Folklore 

without the usual funeral rites. Such persons become ghosts 
{aroL^eidvovv). They roam restlessly about and visit their 
old haunts, inspired with an intense longing for revenge. This 
idea, so strongly held by the ancient Greeks and Romans, 
survived through the middle ages into modern • Europe ; but 
at the present day it finds its most emphatic expression in 
the practices of savage races, such as the natives of Australia, 
North and South America, North and South Asia, etc. 1 The 
belief fully accounts for the extreme horror with which the 
modern Greeks contemplate the possibility of a body being 
denied Christian burial. It is partly this fear that makes exile 
so abhorrent to the Greek, and the danger of dying in a remote 
country, or being shipwrecked at sea, far from those whose duty 
it is to accord to the remains the funeral rites, is frequently 
dwelt upon in the " Songs of Farewell " (Tpayov&ta 7-779 

The malevolent spirits belonging to this category can only 
be expelled by a religious ceremony. The papas, or parish 
priest, is summoned. He reads a special service over a bowl 
of water in which, thus sanctified (ayiacr/uLo*;), he dips a cross 
and a bunch of basil, and with this brush besprinkles the 
dwelling, charging the while all evil and unclean spirits to 
depart. But it sometimes happens that the demons defy 
prayers, and, in spite of holy water and exorcisms, persist in 
vexing the inhabitants. In that case the house is deserted 
and henceforth shunned as 'haunted.' 

Far different in disposition and behaviour are the spirits 
known and cherished as ' masters of the house ' (voLKo/cvprjBes 
tov (TiriTiov). They are supposed to be the ghost-souls of 
ancestors still lingering in their old home and watching over 
the welfare of their posterity, according to a universal doctrine 
which " is indeed rooted in the lowest levels of savage culture, 
extends through barbaric life almost without a break, and 
survives largely and deeply in the midst of civilization." 2 
These benignant beings manifest their presence at night by 

1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. 11. pp. 27 foil. 

2 Tylor, ib. pp. 24 foil. 

Spirits and Spells 259 

treading softly on the floor, which creaks under their ghostly 

The Macedonian spirits of the latter class are in all pro- 
bability the degraded descendants of the Manes and Lares 
of classical antiquity, and the kindly feelings with which they 
are regarded may be the attenuated relics of ancient ancestor- 
worship. To these remnants of classical cult was perhaps at 
a later period superadded a coating of Slavonic colour. 

In both the foregoing classes of spirits the English reader 
will recognize close relatives of the familiar ghosts, which haunt 
many an English house and form the subject of many a con- 
versation, and of an occasional angry controversy between 
believers and sceptics. The Teutonic Brownie and the Celtic 
Glaistig are also branches of the same genealogical tree — 
a tree whose boughs may justly be said to overshadow the 
universe. But a closer relationship can perhaps be established 
with the Domovoys of the Russian peasant which, like their 
Macedonian cousins, are of two kinds : benevolent or male- 
volent, according as they belong to his own family or to that 
of his neighbour. 1 

1 Ralston, Songs of the Russian People, pp. 129 foil. 




The Drakos. 

It is extremely difficult — much more so than folklorists 
sometimes imagine — in investigating the folklore of a country 
to fix with absolute certainty where real superstition ends 
and pure mythology begins. The peasant story-teller, though 
conscious of the fact that he is narrating a myth, is all the 
time more than half inclined to believe that the world which 
he describes is not an improbable world, that in the mysterious 
" times of old all things were possible " (\ rbv iraXybv tcypo oka 
yevovvrav). This was the expression with which one of that 
class once silenced my prosaic attempts at criticism. He went 
even farther, and, having once confessed his own belief in the 
historic truth of mythological creations, launched forth into 
a tirade against some " learned men and schoolmasters " (ypa/bt- 
fiancrfiivoc fcal Sacr/cakoi) of his acquaintance, who were so 
stupid as to deny that there ever were such beings as the 
Lamia and the Drakos. His words, which I quote from notes 
taken down at the time, will perhaps be of interest to the 
student of peasant psychology : 

"Why," he exclaimed in accents of triumph, "I myself 
remember seeing, as a child, monstrous horned snakes swarming 
on yonder plain (irepa '9 top rca/uiro). Where are they now ? 
There also used to be lions and bears; but they have dis- 
appeared before modern guns. The same thing must surely 
have happened to the Lamias and the Drakoi." 

Both these monsters may be said to dwell in the debatable 
borderland between the two worlds : Faith and avowed Fiction. 

Macedonian Mythology 261 

The Drakos (Apaicos or ApdicovTas) can be described as 
a cousin-german to the Black Giant already disposed of. Like 
him he haunts the wells (hence called Apcucovepia), and works 
mischief on the people by withholding the water. This habit 
of the monster is alluded to in the following lines, which form 
the beginning of a song heard at Nigrita : 

K<xto> \ top r 'Ai ®68copo, fcaTod \ tov f/ A'C Fecopyrj 
Uapr)yvpiT(7L yevovrav, fieyaXo iravr\yvpi. 
To iravTjyvpL 1 tclv ymcpo k r\ irXdar] rav /JueyaXi], 
KpaTe? o Apdtcos to vepo, Sc^a to Travrjyvpi, 
Acyfra ical fjuta apyovTio~o~a ttovtclv anrofiapvyLevy). 

Yonder at St Theodore's, yonder at St George's 

A fair was held, a great fair. 

The space was narrow and the crowd was large. 

The Drakos held back the water and the people were athirst, 

Athirst was also a lady who was heavy with child. 

A similar circumstance forms the groundwork of a little tale 
from Southern Greece : 

The Drakos and the Bride. 2 

Once upon a time there was held a wedding. The groom's 
party started from his house on their way to the bride's, who 
lived in a neighbouring village. They got there safely; but 
on their way back, when they reached the middle of the road, 
lo and behold ! there sprang before the procession a Drakos. 
He was a lame one, 'tis true, but still he was terrible. He 
held them for half an hour in a ravine with the intention of 
hurting them, who knows ? perhaps even of eating them. The 
people were all paralyzed with fear. The bride alone retained 
her presence of mind. She bethought herself of a means of 
escape, and stepping forth stood in front of the monster 
and said : 

Bride: I am Lightning's child, Thunder's grandchild. 

I am the Hurler of Thunderbolts, she who flashes and booms. 

1 It will be noticed that the word is used in three senses : fair, the place 
where the fair is held, and the people at the fair. 

2 ' NeoeWyvacdL Uapa/xMia,' Athens, I. Nicolai'des, 1899, Part I. p. 63. 

262 Macedonian Folklore 

Once when I flashed I burnt up forty Dragons, 

One was left, a lame one : can that be your lordship ? 

Dragon: I am he. 

Bride: Stand aside, friends, that I may flash and burn him up. 

Dragon {frightened): Come, pass on ; come, go your way ; good luck to 
your wedding. 1 

So thanks to the bride's cleverness they all escaped. 

In another popular legend, a bridegroom had bound himself 
by a solemn vow to go to a Dragon and submit to be treated 
as breakfast. I translate the version of the story current at 
Liakkovikia. 2 

B. Wherefore art thou sad, Yanni, and rejoicest not? 

Perchance thou art displeased with me, my person or my portion? 
G. I am pleased with thee, my Fair One, both with thy person and 
with thy portion ; 

But the Dragon has asked me to go to breakfast. 
B. Whithersoever thou goest, my Yanni, thither shall I come with thee. 
G. Where 1 am going, my Fair One, no maid can go. 
B. Whithersoever thou goest, my Yanni, thither shall I come with thee, 

I will cook for thee thy dinner, I will spread for thee thy mattress. 
G. Where I am going, my Fair One, no maid can go. 

There is nor cooking nor eating ; nor mattress-spreading nor sleeping 

So the two set forth to go, like a pair of pretty doves, 

And they found the Dragon leaning against the fountain. 

When the Dragon espied them, he said in high glee : 
D. Double has come my breakfast, double has come my dinner ! 

When Yanni heard this, he said to his Fair One : 

1 Ntf</>?7 

"'EycS^cu r's a,<rTpairr}s iraidl, ttjs ppovrapas iyybvi. 
'Eyayxca aaTpairbfiokos 'jr" 1 a<rrp<i<pTa) ical fjarovfiirvifa. 
Mia tpopd (tclp ^crrpaxpa capavra Ap&K ovX r's %Ka\j/a' 
"E^as Kovrabs airoix^ve' fjLiras k' eta' i) a<p€i>T€id croi/;" 



"UcLpafJuepaT, (TVfnreOepoL, v dcrTpdxpd) pa. rov Kai/'W." 


(In his fear he apparently forgets the fifteen- syllable metre, and answers lamely) 
il "A'CvT€, irepdcrre, d'Cvre s rb kcl\6, Ka\oppl£iK r\ x a P^ frcw." 

2 A. A. Tovfflov, 'Ta Tpayotidia ttjs Harpidos fiov' No. 130, '0 ApaKovras. 
Cp. Passow, Nos 509, 510, which refer to the same subject, treated in a different 

Macedonian Mythology 263 

G. Did I not tell thee, my Fair One, that thou shouldst not come 

with me 1 
B. Go on, my Yanni, go on ; go on and fear not. 

Nine Dragons have I eaten up, and this one will "be the tenth. 

When the Dragon heard this, he was mortally afraid : 
D. Pray, friend Yanni, whose daughter is she ? 

The Fair One answered and to the Dragon said : 
B. I am Lightning's daughter, Thunder's grand-daughter, 

If I like, I may flash and thunder and overwhelm thee on the spot. 

She flashed and thundered and overwhelmed the Dragon on the spot. 

In these legends the Drakos figures as a large uncouth 
monster akin to the Troll of Norse, the Ogre of southern, and 
the Giant of our own folk-tales. His simplicity of mind is 
equal to his might, and he is easily outwitted. Indeed, the 
Drakos compares most unfavourably with the Devil of the 
Bible and the Koran. He has none of the subtlety of the 
Tempter of Hebrew and Christian tradition, or of the Moham- 
medan Afrit, who is considered the embodiment of cleverness, 
so much so that to call one afrit is the highest compliment 
a Mohammedan can pay to one's intelligence. 

His similarity to the Teutonic Giant is accentuated by the 
fact that the Drakos, like his northern counterpart, is also 
regarded as the performer of feats beyond ordinary human 
strength. As in Ireland, for example, we hear of a Giant's 
Causeway, so in Macedonia we come across a " Drakos's Weight " 
(tov Apd/cov to Spdfii) — a big stone to the south of Mgrita; 
a " Drakos's Shovelful " (rj (f>/cvapid tov Apdfcov) — a mound 
of earth near the other monument; a "Drakos's Tomb" (tov 
Apd/cov to jjLvrjfjuopi) — a rock in the same neighbourhood, in 
which peasant imagination detects a resemblance to a high- 
capped dervish, resting against the slope of the hill; and a 
" Drakos's Quoits" (Apa/coireTpaL?) 1 — two solitary rocks standing 

1 Cp. "In the island of Carystos, iu the Aegean, the prostrate Hellenic 
columns in the neighbourhood of the city are said to have been flung down 
from above by the Drakos. 

In Tenos, a smooth rock, which descends precipitously into the sea, is called 
the Dragoness's Washing-board, from its resemblance to the places where Greek 
women wash their clothes." — Tozer, Researches in the Highlands of Turkey, 
vol. ii. p. 294. 

264 Macedonian Folklore 

in the plain of Serres, not far from the village of Liakkovikia. 
Concerning these rocks is told the following tale : 

The Princess and the Two Dragons. 1 

There was once in the country a king who had ah only- 
daughter. She was a lovely, beautiful maiden, and her name 
was Photeine. Two princes in the neighbourhood were 
enamoured of her. They both were marvellously tall and 
strong, and men called them Dragons. The king feared 
them greatly. One day they both came to Princess Photeine's 
father and asked for his daughter's hand. The king, on 
hearing the object of their visit, was seized with alarm 
and knew not what to do. For he feared lest, by pre- 
ferring one of them, he should incur the wrath of the 
other. He suddenly bethought himself of this plan. He 
proposed to his daughter's suitors to throw the quoit, saying 
that the one who beat the other should become Photeine's 
husband. They agreed with pleasure, and they each took 
up a rock of an equal size and flung it with all their 
might from the same spot. But neither of them won ; for 
the rocks both fell in the same place. Photeine's father then 
bade them build each a castle of the same size, saying that 
the one who finished his first, should take his daughter 
for wife. Again the lovesick Giants began and ended their 
task at exactly the same time. They then decided to engage 
in single combat. They fought with so great a fury that they 
both fell. When the Princess Photeine heard that these brave 
suitors had fallen victims to their love for her, she grieved 
profoundly and resolved to live and die a maiden. She retired 
to a lonely part of her father's dominions, and there spent the 
remainder of her life in saintly seclusion. 

The Drakos when conceived of as a giant sometimes has 
a spouse (Apd/caiva or ApaKopTiao-a), quite as big, strong, and 
stupid as himself. The family is occasionally increased by a 
number of daughters who are remarkable for size, strength 

1 A. A. Vov<riov, '*H Kara rb Il&yyaiov Xtbpa,' pp. 27 foil. 

Macedonian Mythology 265 

and partiality for human flesh, and who inherit their parents' 
abundant lack of wit. 

But the Drakos is very frequently identified with the 
serpent (Spd/cmv, 'dragon'), out of whom he was possibly 
evolved in the course of time. The Scythic Nagas are similarly 
confounded with serpents, 1 while in Russian folklore the Snake 
" sometimes retains throughout the story an exclusively reptilian 
character ; sometimes he is of a mixed nature, partly serpent 
and partly man. 2 " In Albanian mythology also the Negro, who 
corresponds to the Greek Black Giant and, like the latter, owes 
his origin to the Arabian Nights, absorbs and is in his turn 
absorbed by the serpent, while in Wallachian folk-tales the 
serpent element has superseded entirely the giant attributes, 
and the Wallachian dragon, like the Russian Zmyei, 3 appears 
in all the monstrous glory of wings and claws, breathing fire 
and threatening ruin to all whom it may concern. 

Mythologists agree in regarding the Drakos as a member 
of a large family of children of death, darkness, and natural 
forces hostile to man. The Drakos is said to embody the idea 
of a thunderstorm, 4 and from that point of view he may be 
considered as the modern representative of the ancient Python 
slain by Apollo, even as the thunder-cloud is dispelled and 
destroyed by the rays of the Sun. On the other hand, two of 
the legends given above rather suggest that the Drakos is a 
personification of the drought and therefore dreads the Bride, 
who wields the powers of thunder and lightning. But where 
all is so dark it would be rash to be dogmatic. 

The Lamia. 

The Lamia (Adfica) is connected with the Drakos by 
affinity of disposition and very often by the bonds of matrimony. 
She shares to the full his cannibal propensities and his infantile 
simplicity of mind. Her voracity has given rise to the proverb 

1 Wheeler, History of India, vol. i. p. 147. 

2 Ralston, Russian Folk-Tales, p. 65. 

3 Ralston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 173. 

4 For an exhaustive disquisition on the Modern Greek Drakos see Tozer, 
Researches in the Highlands of Turkey, vol. n. pp. 294 foil. 

266 Macedonian Folklore 

" to eat like a Lamia " (rpcoyet <rav Ad/juta). In spite of this 
unladylike trait, she is of noble descent and can point with 
pride to the pages of classical literature in proof of her pedigree, 
though, it must be added, the circumstances in which she 
figures therein are not such as a noble lady would be anxious 
to recall. 1 

In Liddell and Scott's Greek Lexicon Lamia is defined as 
" a fabulous monster said to feed on man's flesh." This is true, 
but does not contain the whole truth. Lamia was not always 
a monster. She was once a fair maiden, so fair that Zeus 
himself succumbed to her charms. The result of this admira- 
tion was a number of beautiful children, which, however, Hera, 
the jealous spouse of the " Father of gods and men," snatched 
from their mother's arms. The latter went to hide her grief 
and despair amongst the rocks of the sea, and it was there that 
her beauty decayed, and she became a cruel, hideous monster, 
the terror of children and the laughing-stock of the Athenian 
play-goer. Another ancient tradition describes her as a beau- 
tiful sorceress who upon occasion assumed the form of a snake. 

In the modern conception of the Lamia we recognize these 
ancient traits, and more especially the first. The sudden death 
of a child is sometimes attributed to her cruelty. But on the 
other hand she, like her modern husband, the Drakos, is often 
represented as withholding the water from a district, until a 
human victim is offered to her. In the tale given below she is 
pictured as " a great marvellous monster with crooked claws and 
a pair of wings, each of which reached down to yonder plain " — 
apparently a winged serpent of the mythical dragon species, 
although she is also given four legs and three heads. 2 

For this tale I am indebted to Kyr Khaidhevtos (lit. 
Mr Worth-to-be-petted) of Vassilika. Kyr Khaidhevtos is a 

1 For instance, the scandalous story of ws 77 Aajuf a\ov<r' iirtpdeTo (Ar. 
Vesp. 1177) seems to have been notorious at Athens in the year 422 B.C., and 
one can imagine the peals of laughter which must have greeted the comedian's 
allusion to it on the stage. 

2 Of the Strigla, an evil monster akin to the Lamia and equally popular in 
Southern Greek mythology, I found no vestiges in Macedonia, except the name, 
which is very common but only as a term of abuse, applied to wicked hags, 
pretty nearly in the same way as our witch. 

Macedonian Mythology 267 

character worth-to-be-studied as a type of a large class of 
Macedonian peasants, who to a plentiful share of native shrewd- 
ness add an equal portion of faith, if we accept the Sunday 
schoolgirl's definition of faith as a capacity for believing 
" what you know is not true." 

Kyr Khaidhevtos enjoys the reputation of an ardent lover 
and eloquent retailer of folk- tales. Nor does Fame flatter him, 
as will presently appear. In my search after folklore I could not, 
therefore, do better than apply to Kyr Khaidhevtos for a few 
scraps from his rich store. He readily promised me that favour 
and, unlike some other local folklorists, did not forget to fulfil 
his promise. He called upon me one evening after the day's 
work was done, and regaled my ears till long after " the Moon 
and the Pleiades had sunk to rest." 

Kyr Khaidhevtos is a great actor, as well as a great nar- 
rator. His hands, his head, his face were all in perpetual motion, 
and they kept pace with the narrative so well that even one 
deaf could have followed the drift of the story. His eyes now 
glittered in wrath, now vanished behind the swelling curves 
of his rosy cheeks, according as he was engaged in a fierce 
or funny episode. For instance, in order to express the 
hurly-burly of battle and the tug of war, he would hook his 
two forefingers together and, with eyes flashing and bristling 
moustache, tug ferociously at them. To describe the majestic 
flight of an eagle, he spread his arms and swayed them slowly 
upwards, accompanying the action with a solemn look at the 
beams of the ceiling. If he wanted to give an idea of a hero's 
physique, he would square his own broad shoulders and swell 
his chest. The rapid movement of a man running away from 
danger was indicated with a quick opening and closing of 
the fingers of the right hand. The roar of rushing water was 
likewise made real by a deep rumbling noise which issued 
from Kyr Khaidhevtos's inner self. 

It was easy to see that he had worked himself into sincere 
self-delusion — the privilege of genius and the secret of success. 
Though he occasionally helped himself to a pinch of snuff, he 
did not allow this indulgence to interfere with the performance. 
Like a true artist he knew the value of a spell and was anxious 

268 Macedonian Folklore 

not to break it by interrupting the narrative, except now and 
again to moisten his lips with a drop of arrack and water. 
Let us now listen to the raconteur himself. 

The Story of the Prince and the Eagle. 1 

" Here begins the tale. Good evening to you. 

Once upon a time there was a king who had three sons. 
The youngest was the bravest and handsomest of the lot. 
A time came when the king was taken dangerously ill. He 
was at the point of death, and the doctors said that, in order 
to recover, he should eat the fat of a male hare. He called to 
himself the princes and said to them : 

" My children, I am dangerously ill, and the doctors have said 
that, in order to recover, I must eat the fat of a male hare. So 
I beg of you to go out to hunt and to bring me a male hare." 

"Very well, father," said the boys and, having taken their 
bows and clubs, they set out on their way to the far-off forests, 
in order to find hares. 

The two elder sons did not succeed in killing one, but the 
youngest killed three. Unfortunately, none of them were male. 
His brothers began to be envious of him, because he had proved 
abler than they. Next day they went out once more to hunt, 
and again the same thing happened. The two elder ones failed 
to do anything, while the youngest killed two hares, and one of 
these two hares was a male. Their envy grew- thereat, and they 
said one to the other : 

" Let us kill him and then say to our father that robbers 
came and slew him." 

Close by there was a well, a very ancient well with marble 
slabs round about, and the water issued forth from within 
and flowed over the marble slabs. When the younger brother 
joined them, they said to him: 

" May we not drink some of the water of this well, especially 
as we are so thirsty?" 

" Right," answered he, " let us drink." 

1 For the original Greek see Appendix II. 

Macedonian Mythology 269 

"We must, however, drink in due order," said the eldest, 
" First one, then the other, and next after him the third." 

So first drank the eldest,, next the second, and last of all the 
youngest. He put his club and his bow under his arm and laid 
himself down upon his face, in order to drink of the water 
which flowed over tho marble-slabs. Then one of them seized 
him by one foo f ^xid the other by the other, and they flung him 
into the ^Jil So the prince fell in, and his brothers fled and 
refined to the palace. When they got home, they took the 
hare to their father and said : 

"Father, behold, we have succeeded at last in finding a 
male hare ; but we have lost our brother " — and they pretended 
to be overwhelmed with sorrow. 

" What ! what did you say ? how has that happened ? " asks 
the king, rushing out of bed; for he loved his youngest son 
more dearly than the others. 

" What can we say, father ? " answered they. " As we were 
hunting, suddenly a band of robbers came, and they meant to 
destroy us all : we two managed to escape ; but our poor 
brother perished." 1 

Then great wailing arose in the palace. The king and the 
queen put on black, and wept bitterly. 

Now let us leave those wailing, and let us go to the 
prince. The well into which they threw him was exceedingly 
deep. He fell for three years before he touched bottom. After 
three years he set foot on the ground and came out at the 
other end. He opens his eyes and sees that he is in another 
world: it was the Nether World. Far, far away he espies a 
light. He walks on and on and at last arrives at a cottage. 
Within there was an old woman kneading dough in a small 
trough, in order to make a cake. The prince noticed that the 
old woman had no water, but only wept and kneaded the flour 
with her tears, and she also spat. And as she wept and spat 
and kneaded the dough, she sang a sorrowful dirge. 

The prince wondered greatly at seeing her spitting and 
weeping, and took pity on her. 

1 This part of the narrative recalls, and perhaps is an echo of, the history 
of Joseph. Gen. xxxvii. 

270 Macedonian Folklore 

" Good evening, grandmother," says he. 

" Good be to my child," says she, and she looked at him in 
amazement; for he was a big, brave-looking youth and carried 
the club in one hand and his bow on his shoulder. " Whence 
comest thou my son ? Thou art not one of these parts. Art 
thou perchance come from the Upper World ? " 

" Yes, I come from the Upper World ; but how did you find 
that out, grandmother ? " 

" Oh, we have no such men like thee here. It is easy to 
see that thou art from above. And how didst thou get down 

Then the prince told her everything : how his brothers had 
thrown him into the well and all the rest. 

" But wilt thou not tell me," he says to the old woman, 
" Wherefore dost thou not get some water wherewith to knead 
the bread, but thou kneadest it with tears and saliva, and 
wherefore dost thou weep and wail ? " 

" Ah, my son, water we have none in these regions. There 
is a well ; but it is guarded by a Lamia, a monster with four 
legs and three heads, 1 and it demands every month a maiden to 
devour, in order to let the water issue forth. This month the 
lot fell upon my only daughter Maruda, and she is now bound 
with chains to a plane-tree. To-morrow the monster will come 
out and eat her. Therefore do I weep and wail." 

When the Prince heard these words, he said : 

" I will kill this monster and rescue both thy daughter and 
the whole country. 2 Only give me a morsel of this cake, when 
it is baked." 

1 This description sounds like a reminiscence of Cerberus, the three-headed 
dog which guarded* the gates of the nether world of the ancients. It is not 
impossible that the raconteur's mind had come under classical influence ; for 
he told me that one of the despised tribe of schoolmasters obliged him with 
occasional readings from Greek History, which an artist like Kyr Khaidhevtos 
would find no difficulty in assimilating and turning to good account. 

2 The incident of a monster withholding the water, until a maiden is given 
to him, and the hero killing the monster and rescuing the maiden, is a common- 
place in the folklore of many nations. 

[Cp. Le petit Rouget sorrier, a Modern Greek tale in a French translation 
first published by J. A. Buchon, in his La Grece Continentale et la Moree, 

Macedonian Mythology 271 

" Ah, my son, how canst thou kill the monster, since even 
the king of this city and his army have been fighting it so 
many years and have not prevailed ? " 

" I will kill it," answers the Prince. 

" Go thou not, or it will devour thee also." 

"I fear it not. Either shall I destroy this monster, or I 
will die." 

As they were talking, he suddenly heard a cry : Kra, kra. 
He turned his head round and saw a great bird standing in 
a corner of the cottage. It was an eagle golden like an angel. 
He asks : 

" What is this bird ? " 

" This bird my husband on dying left to me. It is now a 
hundred years since then. I have reared it, till it grew and 
became as thou seest it." 

" And that she-buffalo, what is she ? " 

"That buffalo also my husband left me, a hundred years 
ago, and I reared her," says the old woman. 

So she gave him a morsel of the cake to eat, after having 
baked it, and the Prince set forth, with his club and bow, to go 
where Maruda stood bound, waiting for the monster to come 
out and devour her. 

When he got there and saw her, he said : 

" Wherefore art thou here ? " 

"It is my destiny. The lot has fallen on me and I am 

Paris, 1843, and reproduced by E. Legrand in his Recueil de Contes Populaires 
Grecs, Paris 1881. Also Hahn, Griechische und Albanesische Marchen, No. 98.] 
It recalls vividly the legends of Perseus and Andromeda and of Herakles and 
Hesione, which are by modern mythologists interpreted as " a description of the 
Sun slaying the Darkness." Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 339. 

The appreciation of water iu the Near East, and the common occurrence 
of drought, may have given birth to the idea, apart from all mythological 
allegory. [Cp. Pindar's dpio-rov txev tidap.] Most travellers from Col. Leake 
to Mr H. F. Tozer, and since, have noticed and commented upon the value set 
on water by the natives of these lands. They often describe one kind of it as 
"light" (£\a<pp6) and another as "heavy" {flapO) or "hard" {<TKkr)p6) and, 
in a word, display all the delicacy of taste of trained connoisseurs. At one 
place my host, in pressing a huge quantity of food on me at dinner, assured me 
that I need not be afraid of over-eating myself, as their water was good enough 
to bring about the digestion even of stones (/cat ir^rpats vh>&i rats xw^etfet). 

272 Macedonian Folklore 

waiting for the monster to come out and eat me, in order to let 
the water issue forth." 

Then the Prince drew his sword, cut the chains asunder, 
and said to her: 

"Fear not, I will rescue thee." 

She, seeing a youth fair like a star, as he was, took pity on 
him and said : 

" Flee far from hence, or thou also wilt perish as so many 
others have perished. Look, yonder is the graveyard where lie 
buried all those who have died these many years past in trying 
to rescue the country." 

" Be thou easy in thy mind," says the Prince, and he turned 
and looked, and saw the whole plain covered with graves. But 
he was not daunted. And as they were talking, there came a 
fearful din like thunder, and the ground shook as though there 
were an earthquake. 

" The monster is coming out. Flee, flee, or it will eat thee 
also," Maruda cries. 

But the Prince seized her in his arms and carried her to 
a height some way off, and then came back to wrestle with the 
Lamia. And the Lamia was a great marvellous monster with 
crooked claws and a pair of wings, each of them reaching 
from here down to yonder plain. She issued from the well and 
clutched the earth with her claws, ready to pounce. And when 
she saw the Prince she said : 

" Ah, well did my old Lamia-mother tell me : ' Many a man 
wilt thou eat, but one day there will come such a one, and of 
him thou must be afraid.' " 1 

Then the Prince rushed upon the Lamia, club in hand, and 
belaboured her, and he cut off with his sword first one head 

1 The Cyclops in Homer on a similar occasion bethinks himself, when too 
late, of an old prophecy : 

*Q irdirot, rj fj,d\a 5?} fie ira\ai<paTa 04<r<f>ad' Udvet. 
iaK€ tls evddde jjl&vtls dv7)p ijtis re fiiyas re, 

6's fiot gtpT] rdde irdvra reXevr^aeadai dirlorau, 
Xeip&v ££ 'Odvarjos d/JLapr^crecddL dwujTrTjs. 

Odyss. ix. 507 foil. 

Macedonian Mythology 273 

and then another, till he slew her utterly, and there was not 
even a nostril left, as the saying goes. 1 

The people, great and small, every one of them, and the 
King with his Council c." Twelve, were on the walls of the city 
watching the fight. Ana when the monster was slain, the 
water began to issue forth wit. a loud roar, and all cisterns and 
fountains were filled, and the ca ] drons which the people held 

Then the Prince took Maruda by he hand in order to lead 
her back to her mother, and she gave hit ■» her ring and said : 

"I am thine now." 

And when they came to the cottage, and tl e old woman saw 
them, she w T ould not yet believe that the monger had really 
perished, but in the end she believed. Then says i ^ Prince : 

"I have achieved this feat thanks to the morsel w. ich thou 
gavest me; the morsel which thou hadst kneaded wi;h thy 
tears. It was that which gave me strength, and I overu me 
the monster. Now thou wilt give me thy daughter for wile 
and I shall be for ever thy son." 

So they embraced each other, and Maruda gave him her 
ring, and he gave her his, and the betrothal was concluded. 

But the King and his council were displeased that a stranger 
should have succeeded in accomplishing so great a feat, while 
they had fought for so many years and failed. And they wished 
to destroy him. They came forth with bows and swords, a great 
army, and they marched towards the cottage in order to seize 
him. When the old woman heard of this, she said : 

" You two must now flee and escape. I am an old woman, 
leave me here, I do not care if I die." 

" How shall we flee, my dear mother ? " answers the Prince. 
" Can I become an eagle and fly ? I am but a man. Let them 
come, and God's will be done." 

1 The combat between the hero and the monster, while the maiden for whom 
they are fighting is looking on from the summit of a height, presents exactly the 
same picture as that drawn by Sophocles in the description of the fight between 
Herakles and the River-god Achelous, the prize being Deianeira ' ' the soft and 
beauteous nymph " who all the while " sat on a conspicuous mound awaiting 
him who was to be her spouse." Track. 517 foil. 

A. F. 18 

274 Macedonian Folklore 

Then the old woman said : 

" This eagle which my husband left me, and which I have 
nourished for so many years, 'tis he who will carry you out." 

They asked the eagle and said : 

" It is thy turn now to help us, who have nourished thee for 
so many years/ 7 

"This is the very hour for which I have been waiting," 
answered the eagle. "You two mount on my neck, and take 
with you many provisions. Take three hundred okes of meat 
and three hundred okes of water, and let us fly." 

" Where shall we find the meat, and where shall we find a 
bottle big enough to hold so much water ? " they asked. 

" Slay the she-buffalo which also you have nourished for so 
many years. Flay her and on her flesh we shall feed, and of 
her skin make a bottle and fill it with water." 

They slew the she-buffalo and loaded the eagle with the 
meat on one side and the skin on the other, and the Prince 
with the maiden mounted on his neck, and the eagle spread 
his wings and by little and little soared up. 

" God be with you," cried the old woman, and fell down and 

The eagle soared and soared for twelve long years, and by 
little and little the provisions began to fail 

"Kra, kra," cried the eagle. 

"What dost thou want?" 

"I am hungry." 

Then the Prince cut off the muscle from his left arm and 
put it into the eagle's beak. 

"Kra, kra" cried the eagle again. 

"What dost thou want?" 

"I am thirsty." 

Then the Prince set his mouth close to the eagle's beak and 
gave him saliva to drink. 

So day by day they drew nearer to the Upper World. But 
once more the eagle grew hungry and the Prince cut off the 
muscle from his right arm and gave it to him to eat. Then he 
cut off the muscle from his left leg, and next from his right 
leg. And he watered him from his own mouth, till they 

Macedonian Mythology 275 

reached the Upper World, and saw the light of the sun, and 
they alighted on a mountain close to the city of his father. 

Then the eagle said : 

" I will remain on the top of this mountain. You go into 
the city, and if perchance you ever be in need, think of me. 
Take this feather, burn it, and I shall understand from the 
smell and come at once." And he pulled a golden little feather 
from his brow and handed it to them. 

When they reached the city, the Prince asked : 

"Where is the road which leads to the palace?" and the 
people showed it to him. 

Twenty-five or thirty years had gone by since he had left, 
and his father and mother had grown old, and he himself 
had grown taller and looked even more heroic than before. 
Yet his mother, as soon as she saw him, knew him at once. 
Eh, does a mother ever forget her child ? Let ever so many 
years go by, when she sees it, she will still know it, even as a 
ewe, when she has lost her young one, seeks for it here and 
there and everywhere, and finds it by the smell. 

Even so the Prince's mother, as soon as she saw him, rose 
from the throne on which she was sitting with the king, opened 
her arms and cried out : 

" Our son ! our son whom we deemed lost. Dost thou not 
know him, husband ? " 

The King on hearing this, rose too; but the others — the 
Council of Twelve 1 — said to him : 

" Thou must first examine him, lest he be an impostor ; for 
we know that thy youngest son has been dead ever so many 

Then the King set about examining him, and the Prince 
related everything as it had happened; but they would not 
believe him. 

" How can that be ? " says the King. " These things thou 
speakest of: a Nether World and Lamias are things we have 
never heard of." 

1 The kings in modern Greek fairy-tales are generally constitutional 
monarchs, ruling in accordance with the advice of a Privy Council, or Cabinet, 
of Twelve. 


276 Macedonian Folklore 

Then said the Queen: 

"My husband, thou art not right. This is our own child. 
I know him : my heart tells me that." 

Then the King ordered his secretaries to find in their books 
the time when the Prince disappeared, and other secretaries to 
write down everything as he narrated it now. Afterwards he 
turned to the Prince and said: 

" Well, suppose we credit what thou sayest about going 
down below, how hast thou come back ? " 

Then the Prince related how the eagle had brought them 
to the Upper World, and they wondered even more, and 
refused to believe him. 

"This thing must be attested by witnesses/' said the 
King. " Where is this eagle ? What has become of the 

" Look at my limbs which I have cut in order to feed him, 
if you will not believe otherwise/' answers the Prince, and he 
showed his arms and his legs, from which he had cut off the 
flesh. But still they found it hard to believe. 

Then Maruda bethought herself of the feather, and said : 

" What hast thou done, my husband, with the feather which 
the eagle gave us ? Now is the time to burn it, and he will 
come to bear witness for us." 

" Thou speakest well," says the Prince, " I had forgotten it," 
and he takes the feather from his pocket. And when the 
others saw it, they wondered, for they had never in their lives 
seen such a beautiful golden feather. 

Then the Prince put it close to the fire in the charcoal-pan, 
which stood in the middle of the room, and ignited it, and the 
palace was filled with a fine odour. 

It became known outside in the city that such a bird would 
come, and all the people went out to see it. As they were 
awaiting the eagle's coming, they suddenly saw a great cloud, 
and by little and little the eagle came down with a louH whirr 
and sat upon the terrace of the palace. 

Then said the Prince: 

" My King, let us all go up to the terrace, and the eagle 
will come there." 

Macedonian Mythology 277 

And they all went up to the terrace, and saw the eagle, and 
the eagle did homage to the King, and the King asked him : 

" Tell us, O eagle, how didst thou ascend from the Nether 
World 1 " 

And the eagle spoke and related everything. And when he 
finished, he cried glu, glu and vomited forth one piece of flesh. 

"This is," he said, "from thy left arm, which thou cutst off 
in order to feed me/' and he set it in its place, spat, and stuck 
it. Next he brought out another piece and stuck it to the 
right arm, and likewise to the legs. 

Then they all believed, and the king embraced his son and 
Maruda, and seated them near him, and said : 

" So thy brothers sought to destroy thee ? " and he ordered 
them to be seized and slain ; but the Prince fell to his feet and 
kissed the hem of his robe, and begged him to forgive them. 

" They sought to do me ill," he said, " but it has turned out 
well ; for had they not flung me into the well, I should not 
have seen that world, nor should I have performed so many 
feats and deeds of valour, and become famous." 

After a deal of trouble he prevailed on the king to forgive 
them. Then they embraced all round, and lived happy ever 
after. May we be happier still ! 

At that judgment I also was present, and it is there that 
I got the tale which I have told you this evening." 1 

The conclusion of the narrative was followed by a critical 
discussion. My informant's transcendent contempt for consis- 
tency led me to point out timidly that, if the hero had spent 
three years going down and twelve coming up, and there is 
no allowance made for residence in the Nether World, he 
could hardly be said to have been absent from his native land 
"twenty-five or thirty years." I thought this an unanswerable 
argument. But I was mistaken. It was beautiful to observe 

1 For a parallel to this story in a French translation, see G. Georgeakis and 
Leon Pineau, Le Folk-Lore de Lesbos, pp. 38 foil. Also, in a German translation, 
Hahn, Marchen, No. 70. The eagle incident also occurs in " La Belle de la 
Terre," an Albanian story in Auguste Dozon, Contes Albanais, No. 5 ; other 
references are given in Le Folk-Lore de Lesbos, pp. 39 and 40, notes. I have 
never seen the story in a Greek text. 

278 Macedonian Folklore 

the tolerant smile with which Kyr Khaidhevtos waved aside 
my objections. " You have no imagination, sir, I can see that, 
and am sincerely sorry for you," that is what his eyes said. 
But what his courteous lips actually uttered was : " This is but 
a fairy-tale " (avro 'vat 7rapafivOo) — a stereotyped phrase from 
which he refused to depart. And yet it was Kyr Khaidhevtos 
who later delivered the vigorous denunciation of " learned men 
and schoolmasters " recorded at the beginning of this chapter. 



Everything that savours of antiquity is by the Macedonian 
peasant attributed to the two great kings of his country. His 
songs and traditions, of which he is vastly and justly proud, are 
often described as having come down " from the times of Philip 
and Alexander — and Herakles," a comprehensive period to 
which all remnants of the past are allotted with undiscrimi- 
nating impartiality. 

On the way from Drama to Cavalla, and a little back from 
the road, stand the massive relics of an ancient gate, facing the 
ruins of Philippi. This pile is known to the people by the 
name of " Alexander the Great's Palace " (to YlaXdri, rov 
Meydkou y A\el;dvSpov). 

At Demir Hissar, or "The Iron Castle/' on the Salonica- 
Serres railway line, there are some remnants of an old citadel, 
or fortress (/cdo-Tpo), overlooking the ravine between the flanks 
of which the town is wedged. These ruins are assigned to 
King Philip. A big stone jar discovered among them some 
time ago was promptly labelled " King Philip's money-jar, or 
treasury." The same romantic tradition discerns in two smooth 
stones, lying on the rocky bank of the local river, the " Washing- 
boards " on which " The Princesses" (BaaiXoTrovXais) — the 
daughters of King Philip — used to bleach (XevKaLvovv) their 
clothes in the manner of Macedonian women at the present day. 

The two solitary rocks in the plain of Serres, already noted 
as the "Dragon's Quoits," are by the inhabitants of Nigrita 

280 Macedonian Folklore 

called the " Quoits of Alexander the Great " (Tier pais rod 
MeydXov 'AXe^dvSpov), who is supposed to have thrown them ; 
for did he not live in the age when, according to a muleteer's 
phrase, "God was wont to vouchsafe heroic might to men" 
(d^icove tov$ dvTpeico/jLevovs) ? 

Again, near the village of Stavros, or "The Cross," close to 
the eastern coast of the Chalcidic Peninsula, and a little to the 
north of the site where Stageira, Aristotle's birthplace, is 
generally located, 1 there rises a mountain, unnamed in maps, but 
known to the peasantry as "Alexander's Mount " (to Hovvo tov 
'AXetjdvSpov, or, less correctly, rrj? 'AXeljdvSpas) — a designation 
especially appropriate in a neighbourhood which is associated 
with the name of Alexander's famous tutor. 

To the south of Stavros lies the village of Lympsiasda, 
which the natives derive from the name of Alexander's mother 
(Olympias), according to Col. Leake " not without probability." 
This traveller gives the name, less correctly, as Lybjadha and 
on the local etymology remarks that "the omission of the 
initial o, the third case, and the conversion of Avfjuridha into 
Avinntydha, are all in the ordinary course of Eomaic corrup- 

In the same paragraph he records that "a situation a 
little below the serai of the Aga at Kastro, where some 
fragments of columns are still seen, is said to have been the 
site of Alexander's mint. Both Turks and Greeks, and even 
the poorest peasants, are full of the history of Alexander, 
though it is sometimes strangely disfigured, and not unfre- 
quently Alexander is confounded with Skanderbeg." 2 

The incantation in which the name of Alexander the Great 
is employed to drive away the demons of the whirlwind 3 is a 
further instance of the tenacity of tradition, and it also points 
to the curious halo which in the course of centuries of ignorance 

1 Col. Leake thinks that the village itself is on the site of the old Stageirus : 
"These remains (viz. of ancient walls), the position, and the name Stavros, 
which, the accent in ^rdyeipos being on the first syllable, is a natural con- 
traction of that name, seem decisive of Stavros being the site of Stageirus." 
Travels in Northern Greece, vol. in. p. 168. 

2 lb. p. 166. 3 v. supra, p. 251. 

Alexander and Philip in Folk-Tradition 281 

has gathered round the great King's personality. In popular 
estimation Alexander fills a place analogous to that occupied by- 
Solomon in the Arabian Nights and other oriental compositions. 
He is credited with a mysterious power over the spirits of evil, 
and his is a name to conjure with. 

Legendary History of Alexander the Great. 

Alexander the Great has from the earliest times been the 
favourite hero of romance. Even in his life-time, so strong was 
the glamour of his wonderful personality and exploits, that no 
legend was deemed by his contemporaries too wild for credence. 
In Strabo's words " all those who attended on Alexander pre- 
ferred the marvellous to the true." 1 If such was the tendency 
among men who knew the hero in the flesh, we can easily 
imagine the attitude of people removed from him in time and 
space. Hence arose a cycle of narratives, at first nebulous 
enough, no doubt, but which were soon condensed into the fable 
known as the Alexander story. It has been surmised that this 
extraordinary production, which is redeemed from the charge of 
being a bad history by being a bad romance, originated in the 
Valley of the Nile immediately after the conqueror's death, and 
thence spread like an epidemic over Europe and Asia. How- 
ever that may be, the oldest version that has come down to us 
is in Greek and goes under the name of Pseudo-Callisthenes, 
who is supposed to have lived in the second century of our era. 2 
This Greek Life of Alexander (B/09 ' AXe^avBpov) has directly 
or indirectly been the prolific parent of a numerous progeny 
extending through many ages and languages. In the East we 
find the legend popular among the Syrians, the Armenians, the 
Copts, the Abyssinians, the Arabs, the Persians, the Turks, the 
Malays and the Siamese. Hebrew literature is also rich in 
stories concerning Alexander's career; but for these neither 
Pseudo-Callisthenes nor his conjectural Egyptian progenitor 

1 iravres [ikv yap ol irepl 'A\£i~avdpov rb Oavfiacrrbv dvrl raXrjdovs airebix 0VT0 
fiSXKov. Geogr. xv. 1. 28. 

2 Several of the extant Greek mss. have been collated and edited. See 
C. Mtiller, Pseudo-Callisthenes (in Arriani Anabasis, by F. Dubner), Paris, 1846 
H. Meusel, Pseudo-Callisthenes, Leipzig, 1871. 

282 Macedonian Folklore 

can be held responsible. la the West the Historia de preliis 
and many other Latin works, both in prose and in verse, held 
the field for centuries until they passed into the vernacular of 
various countries and became known to French, Italians, 
Spaniards, Germans, Dutch, Scandinavians and Slavonians. In 
the hands of the Troubadours Alexander was metamorphosed 
into a mediaeval knight, and in this guise he crossed the 
channel and found a home as Kyng Alisaunder among our old 
English metrical romances. 1 Needless to say, the Macedonian 
in these posthumous peregrinations was obliged to change not 
only his garb and speech but also his religion. In the East, as 
in the West, he frequently adopts the Christian creed and 
distinguishes himself by his piety and scriptural erudition. 
Some of these traits of character will appear in the History of 
the Great Alexander of Macedon: his life, wars, and death*, of 
which a resume is given below. 

Whether this modern edition is the lineal descendant of 
a version from an old Greek text, or is derived from some 
mediaeval source, Eastern or Western, is a question to which I 
dare give no answer. Its vocabulary and style, though modern 
in the main, reveal numerous traces of a mediaeval origin. 
The story itself bears to that of Pseudo-Callisthenes the same 
degree of relationship which is found in most of the other 
romances. But this is not the place for a minute comparison 
and analysis. For our present purpose it is sufficient to state 
that the story, under the popular designation of " Chap-book of 
Alexander the Great" (<£>vWd8a rod WLeydXov 'AXe^dvBpov), 
has long been, and still is, a favourite reading among the lower 
classes all over the Greek world, and has helped more than 
anything else to keep the Conqueror's memory fresh and 

1 Among the works to be consulted by those interested in the development 
of the Alexander myth are E. A. Wallis Budge, The History of Alexander the 
Great (Syriac version of the Pseudo-Callisthenes ; text with English translation 
and notes), Cambridge, 1889; The Life and Exploits of Alexander the Great 
(Translation of the Ethiopic versions of Pseudo-Callisthenes and other writers), 
London, 1896; Giusto Grion, I Nobili Fatti di Alessandro Magno (Old Italian 
versions from the French), Bologna, 1872 ; etc. 

2 ''IoTO/otct rod MeydXov 'AXe^dvdpov rod WLaKeddvos : Bios, II6Xe^ot /ecu Q&varos 
auroiV Athens, I. Nicolaides, 1898. 

Alexander and Philip in Folk-Tradition 283 

confused. Numbers of these pamphlets are yearly sold to the 
peasants of Macedonia by itinerant booksellers, and it was from 
one of these diffusers of doubtful light that I obtained my 
copy for the modest sum of one piastre (equal to 1\d, sterling). 
After what has already been said about the other versions 
of the Alexander legend it would be superfluous to add that 
this also is a "History" beside which Milton's History of 
England reads like a sober record of facts. A flippant critic 
might describe it as a work conceived in dyspepsia and 
executed in delirium. 

In this mytho-historical composition, as in all the kindred 
productions mentioned above, the birth of Alexander is attributed 
to the miraculous intervention of the god Amnion, assisted by 
a somewhat questionable character, Nektenabos, 1 late king of 
Egypt, subsequently Court magician and astrologer in ordinary 
to Philip of Macedon. The child's entry into the world was 
heralded by much thunder and lightning and other indications of 
an abnormal origin. His education was entrusted to Aristotle and 
Nektenabos jointly. " The lad used to go to the former in the 
morning and to the latter in the afternoon": the one taught 
him his letters, the other initiated him into the mysteries of 
the stars. 

Alexander's boyhood was signalized by many deeds fore- 
shadowing his future pushfulness. One of these was the act 
by which he repaid Nektenabos for his tuition. Master and 
disciple were one evening standing on the top of a high tower 
gazing at the heavenly bodies. Alexander suddenly, and rather 
irrelevantly, remarked : 

" O thou who knowest so many things, dost thou know how 
thou wilt come by thy death ?" 

" I shall meet my death at the hands of my son," answered 
the astrologer. 

1 The name T$eKTeva(36s of our text appears in the old mss. of the Pseudo- 
Callisthenes as 'Nefcravepibs or "NeKTava^dbs, and occasionally as NeKrevafidbs ; in 
the Syriac version as Naktib6s ; in the Ethiopic as Bektanis etc. In the Italian 
versions it is Nattanabus, Natanabus, Nathabor, Natabor, Natanabor or Natanabo. 
All these and innumerable other forms are corruptions of the Egyptian Nekht- 
neb~f, or Nectanebus II, who was defeated by the Persians in about 858 b.c. 

284 Macedonian Folklore 

" How can a son slay his own father?" said Alexander, and 
forthwith pushed his tutor over the parapet. Then, adding 
insult to injury, he cried after the fallen sage, " Methinks thou 
hast lost thine art, master ! " 

" It is not so, for thou art my son ! " 

" How can I be thy son, since Philip is my father ?" retorted 
the disciple in a manner which showed that Aristotle's lessons 
in Logic had not been wasted on him. 

Thereupon Nektenabos, presumably interrupting his descent 
(for these things happened before the discovery of the law of 
gravitation), narrated to him at great length the secret story of 
his birth, the truth whereof was known only to himself and 
Alexander's mother, and then expired. 

And now Alexander, having bewailed and buried his real 
father befittingly, and done many other wondrous deeds in the 
meantime, succeeds to the throne vacated by the death of his 
presumed parent and sets out on his grand tour round the 
globe. One of his earliest achievements is the conquest of 
Western Europe, all the Potentates w T hereof were forced to do 
homage and to pay tribute to him. The Romans, among other 
things, endeavoured to win his favour by offering him Solomon's 
great coat, which that eccentric individual Nebuchadnezzar had 
stolen from Jerusalem ; also twelve jugs full of precious stones, 
which had likewise belonged to Solomon and were kept by him 
in the Holy of Holies in Holy Zion ; also Solomon's crown, set 
with three gems which at night gleamed like lit candles, and 
encircled with a wreath of twelve diamonds bearing the names 
of the twelve months inscribed on them ;, also the crown of the 
great "Queen Sibyl"; also the royal armour of Priam, which 
they had carried off from Troy, and a few other trifles of a 
similar kind. 

While doing Pome and the Romans, Alexander visited the 
famous "temple of Apollo in that city," and the god's high- 
priest "presented unto him myrrh, frankincense, and other 
royal gifts." He likewise produced a book and read from it 
the following 

Prophecy from the Book of the Hellenes : "In the year 5,000 
there shall come forth a one-horned he-goat and shall put to flight 

Alexander and Philip in Folk-Tradition 285 

the leopards of the West. To the South shall he also go. And 
in the East he shall meet the marvellous ram of the spread horns, 
one whereof reaches to the South, and the other to the North. 
The one-horned he-goat shall smite the marvellous ram in the 
heart and slay him. Whereby all the rulers of the East shall be 
terror-stricken, and all the swords of Persia shall be broken in 
pieces. He shall also come to mighty Rome and shall be 
unanimously acclaimed King of the Universe." 

The Greek philosophers who attended the King in his 
travels interpreted the oracle as follows : 

" King Alexander, in the Vision of the prophet Daniel l 
the Empires of the West are named leopards, those of the South 
lions, those of the East a two-horned ram — to wit the empire 
of the Medes and the empire of the Phoenicians — and the 
one-horned he-goat is the empire of the Macedonians." 

King Alexander elated by the prophecy forthwith ordered 
the Lords of England to build him a small fleet of some twelve 
thousand stout galleys (fcdrepya %ov8pd e&)9 ScoBe/ca xtXidSes), 
each galley to hold one thousand armed men and their provisions. 
This was the beginning of his Eastern campaign. He sent his 
cavalry under the command of Ptolemy and Philones to Barbary 
" by land," while he himself sailed to Egypt. After a prosperous 
voyage of thirty days and thirty nights he reached the mouth 
of the Gold Stream (-^pvaoppoa^ irorafi6<;) J where he built a 
walled city and called it Alexandria. There his generals, 
Ptolemy and Philones, joined him in the evening, fresh from 
the conquest of Barbary. 

Having allowed himself a few days' rest, Alexander 
proceeded to Troy, the city of Helen, the virtuous woman 
who had said that "she preferred an honourable death to a 
dishonourable life " and refused to become another man's wife. 
The Lords of Troy crowned him with the Queen's own crown, 
which shone like the sun, and at night gleamed like the light, 
owing to the precious stones with which it was adorned. They 
likewise presented him with a casket [?] 2 which had once been 

1 Daniel vii. viii. f 

2 k\1(3clvov, l an oven ' [?]. Perhaps it is a printer's error for kl^oot6v, ' a 
wooden box, chest, coffer.' 

286 Macedonian Folklore 

Hector's, and with the Book of Homer, in which is set forth the 
history of the War from the beginning to the fall of the City. 
Alexander read, and then gave utterance to the following 
chivalrous sentiment : 

" Alas ! how many heroes have perished for the sake of a 
paltry woman ! " 

He then visits the tombs of the heroes and tells them how 
sorry he is to find them dead. Had he met them before, he 
would have honoured them with rich gifts. 

" But now," he pathetically exclaims, " that you have died, 
what gifts can I honour you with ? There is no other honour 
possible to the dead than that of frankincense and myrrh. 
May the gods reward you for the deeds of valour which you 
have performed, according to Homer ! " 

After a short trip home to Macedonia, in which he was 
accompanied by all his armies and the captive kings of the 
West, Alexander sets out against Darius ; but on the way he 
halts to tamper with the Jews. He pens and despatches the 
following epistle to the Hebrews : 

" Alexander, by the grace of the Most High, King of Kings, 
to you who dwell in Jerusalem, and confess your faith in one 
God of heaven and earth, the All-powerful God Sabaoth — 
cordial greetings. As soon as you have received this, bow down 
to me and come forth to meet me ; for I by the might of the 
All-powerful God Sabaoth will deliver you from the hands of 
the image-worshippers. Do not act contrary to my behests, 
and I will bestow upon you good laws, such as you will like." 

But the wily Hebrews were not to be won by empty 
words : 

" King Alexander," they answered, " we have duly re- 
ceived thy letter, and have bowed down to thee. May your 
Majesty please to know that we are worshippers of God Sabaoth 
who delivered us once from our bondage in Egypt, and we 
crossed the Red Sea and came to this land to live; but now 
owing to our sins He has delivered us into the hands of Darius. 
If we surrender to thee, without his leave, he will surely come 
and reduce us to utter slavery. Go thou, therefore, first against 
Darius and, if thou vanquishest him, then we will be thy 

Alexander and Philip in Folk-Tradition 287 

faithful servants. Come then into Jerusalem, and we will 
hail thee King of the Universe." 

Thus answered the Hebrews, mindful of their own safety. 
But Alexander's wrath rose thereat, and he wrote: 

" King Alexander, the servant of the All-powerful God, to 
all who dwell in Jerusalem. I did not think you to be such 
• great cowards as to fawn on Darius, you who worship the 
All-powerful God Sabaoth. Wherefore should you be the slaves 
of image-worshippers and not mine, who also worship the same 
God ? I will not go against Darius, but will come straightway 
against you, and you may do as you deem best." 

Shortly after this ultimatum Alexander entered Jerusalem 
and worshipped in the Temple. The Hebrews bowed to the 
inevitable with a good grace. The prophet Jeremiah especially 
distinguished himself by his tact. Accompanied by all the 
notables of the city and loaded with gifts he came to do homage 
to Alexander. But the king generously waived his claims to 
the gifts on behalf of the God Sabaoth, to whom they were 
accordingly presented. Jeremiah, however, by this step won 
the King's favour, and the two used to take walks together. 
The prophet turned this intimacy to account by confirming the 
King in the faith, and, pleased with his success, one afternoon, 
as they were strolling out, he delivered himself of the following 
prediction : 

" Thou shalt conquer Egypt and slay the Emperor of India, 
and thou shalt fall ill. But our God will help thee, and thou 
shalt become rufer of the Universe. Thou shalt go near Paradise 
and there thou shalt find men and women confined on an island. 
Their food is the fruits of trees, and their name is The Blessed. 
They shall prophesy unto thee concerning thy life and death. 
All these things shalt thou see and many more. My blessing 
be upon thee ! " 

Jeremiah, after the fashion of a perfect guide, pressed some 
of the antiquities of the country upon the King : precious stones 
with the name of the God Sabaoth inscribed upon them, from 
Joshua's helmet ; Goliath's sword ; Samson's casque, adorned with 
the claws of dragons ; " the spear of the diamond point " ; Saul's 
mantle, which steel could not pierce, and many other presents 

288 Macedonian Folklore 

useful as well as ornamental. From Jerusalem Alexander 
proceeded to Egypt, where he caught a chill by bathing while 
warm in a very cold lake, but happily the illness did not prove 

The magician Nektenabos, before he became Court astrologer 
to Philip of Macedon, had been king of the Egyptians. On 
quitting his kingdom — owing to circumstances over which he 
had no control — he had left the following message to his subjects : 

" I, being unable to withstand the might of Darius, depart 
from amongst you. But I will come back again thirty years 
hence. 1 Erect a pillar in the centre of the city, carve upon it 
my head and round my forehead put the royal crown. There 
will come to you one who will stand under the pillar, and the 
crown will drop upon his head. To him do ye homage : he will 
be my son ! " 

In pursuance of these instructions the Egyptians recognized 
Alexander as their king, for the crown did drop on his head, 
according to the prediction. 

It would be tedious to follow the hero in his supernatural 
progress through Asia. Suffice it to say that everywhere he 
went, he saw, and he annexed. Such a life, however, could not 
close quite in the ordinary way. The end of his career was 
signalized on his way to Babylon, among other things, by a 
nocturnal call from his friend Jeremiah, who being unable to 
come in the body (owing to the fact that he was dead) sent his 
spirit to visit the King in a dream and prophesy to him as 
follows : 

" Be ready, Alexander, to come to the abode prepared for 
thee; for thy days are numbered out, and thou shalt receive thy 
death from the hands of thy nearest and dearest. Go thou to 
Babylon and arrange the affairs of thy kingdom/' 

Having delivered this message, Jeremiah vanished. 

Soon after the prophet's departure another visitor came; 
but this one in the body. It was his old tutor Aristotle, who 
was the bearer of gifts and messages from Olympias. His 

1 At the beginning of the narrative the same message is given in the following 
words, " I will return after twenty- four years. I now go as an old man but 
I will return young (meaning thereby his son Alexander)." 

Alexander and Philip in Folk- Tradition 289 

arrival was an agreeable diversion from the painful thoughts 
aroused by the prophet's visit, and Alexander greeted him with 
royal effusion : 

" Welcome, precious head/' said he, throwing his arms 
round the philosopher's neck and kissing him affectionately, 
" w T ho shinest like the sun among all the Hellenes ! " 

A friendly interchange of news and narratives followed, and 
there was much feasting. But the shadow of death already 
darkened the glory-crowned head. 

In the King s household there were two brothers Leucadouses 
and Bryonouses, by name : one of them was master of the horse, 
the other cup-bearer to the King. Their mother, who had seen 
neither of them for years, wrote to them repeatedly urging them 
to return home. But the King always refused to grant 
permission. This circumstance, added to the fact that Alexander 
had knocked the cup-bearer a few days before "with a stick 
on the head" for breaking a valuable goblet, aroused much 
disaffection in the brothers' breasts. The arrival of a fresh 
letter from home added the spark to the fuel. "The crafty 
devil entered into the cup-bearers heart," and he resolved to 
poison his master. The plot found supporters among many of 
the courtiers — all of them being among the Kings dearest friends. 
Some of the conspirators were actuated by nostalgia, others by 
wicked ambition. During a banquet a poisoned cup was offered 
to the King. He quaffed it unsuspectingly and died. 

The Romance, which has been much condensed in the above 
synopsis, ends with the King's will and testament, his death, 
the death of his murderer, the death of his steed Bucephalus, 
the wailings and demise of his wife Ehoxandra, 1 their joint 
funeral, a sermon, and the moral : " Vanity of vanities ; all is 
vanity ! " 

1 This is the form under which the name appears in the Romance. 

A. F. 19 



Classical scholars are familar with the beautiful old myths 
in which the origin of certain birds is traced to a transfiguration 
brought about by the direct agency of the gods. The fables of 
Philomela and Procne, of Itys and Tereus, and of lynx are 
fresh in every student's memory. Still more so is perhaps the 
metamorphosis of Halcyon, wife of Ceyx, King of Thessaly, who, 
in the words of the poet, "flitting along the rocky ridges on 
the shore of the sea sings her plaintive lay, ever lamenting the 
loss of her spouse." 1 

Several more or less close parallels to this legend — due 
either to survival or to revival — exist at the present day in 

First among them ranks the widely-known story of the 
gyon (yfcvaov), a bird, which, so far as I could identify it, seems 
to be a species of plover. 

L The Gyon. 
(From Salonica and Serves.) 

There lived once two brothers, who were very jealous of 
each other and were constantly quarrelling. They had a mother 
who was wont to say to them : 

" Do not wrangle, 2 my boys, do not wrangle and quarrel, or 
Heaven will be wroth against you, and you shall be parted." 

1 Eur. Iph. in Taur. 1089 foil. 

2 fity Tpdyeo-re, lit. " do not eat each other up." 

Bird Legends , 291 

But the youths would not listen to their parent's wise 
counsels, and at last Heaven waxed wroth and carried off one 
of them. Then the other wept bitterly, and in his grief and 
remorse prayed to God to give him wings, that he might fly in 
quest of his brother. God in His mercy heard the prayer and 
transformed the penitent youth into a gyon. 

The peasants interpret the bird's mournful note gyon! 
gyon ! as Anton ! Anton ! or Gion ! Gion ! (Albanian form of 
John) — the departed brother's name — and maintain that it 
lets fall three drops of blood from its beak every time it calls. 
Whether the alleged bleeding is a reminiscence of Philomela's 
tongue cut off by Tereus, it is impossible to say with certainty. 

Bernhard Schmidt 2 compares the name of the bird (o ytcicov, 
or y/cicbvTis) with the Albanian form (yjovve or yjov) and refers to 
Hahn's Tales 2 for an Albanian parallel, in which the gyon and 
the cuckoo are described as brother and sister. He also quotes 
Carnarvon's account of a Southern Greek legend about a bird 
called fcvpd. 

" That bird had once been a woman, who, deprived of all 
her kindred by some great calamity, retired to a solitary moun- 
tain to bewail her loss, and continued on the summit forty days, 
repeating in the sad monotony of grief the lamentation of the 
country ' Ah me! ah me!' till at the expiration of that period 
she was changed by pitying Providence into a bird." 3 

The same industrious collector refers to Newton for a 
similar story: " The other day we heard a bird uttering a 
plaintive note, to which another bird responded. When Mehe- 
met Chiaoux (sic) heard this note, he told us with simple 
earnestness that once upon a time a brother and sister tended 
their flocks together. The sheep strayed, the shepherdess 
wandered on in search of them, till at last, exhausted by fatigue 
and sorrow, she and her brother were changed into a pair of 
birds, who go repeating the same sad notes. The female bird 
says: ' Quzumlari gheurdunmu — Have you seen my sheep?' 

1 Griech. Marchen, Sagen und Volkslieder, n. 3. Der Vogel Gkion, pp. 

2 Marchen, No. 104. 

3 Carnarvon, Reminiscences of Athens and the Morea, p. 111. 


292 Macedonian Folklore 

to which her mate replies : * Gheurmedum — I have not seen 
them?' 1 

The " brother and sister" version is characteristically Moham- 
medan. But with the quest for lost sheep may be compared 
the following Macedonian legend. 

II. The Pee-wit and the Screech-owl. 
(From Serres.) 

There were once two brothers, the elder called Metro (short 
for Demetrius), and the younger Georgo. They were horse- 
dealers by trade. One day there came to them a stranger who 
wished to purchase eight horses. Metro sent his younger 
brother to fetch them. Georgo came back with seven horses, 
besides the one on which he was riding. Metro, who was not 
remarkable for cleverness, counted only seven, without taking 
into account the one on which his brother rode. So he said 
to him : 

" Go back and find the horse you've lost." 

Georgo, who apparently was as clever as his brother, went 
away and spent the whole day looking for the missing horse, 
without for a moment reflecting that he was sitting on its back. 

In the evening he returned home empty-handed. His 
brother called to him from afar : 

" Eh, Georgo, have you found the horse ? " 

The youth replied : 

" No, I have found no horse!" 

Thereupon Metro lost his temper and slew his brother. 
He did not realize his mistake until the latter had fallen off 
the horse's back and lay still upon the ground. In his despair 
Metro called on God to change him into a bird. He was trans- 
formed into a pee-wit, and ever since cries : Poot ? poot ? 
that is * Where is it? where is it?' (irov to; ttov to;). To 
which his brother, who was turned into a screech-owl, replies in 
anguish 'Ah ! ah !' 2 

1 Newton, Travels and Discoveries in the Levant, n. p. 263. 

2 Cp. ' Le chat-huant, le coucou et la huppe, ' G. Georgeakis et L6on Pineau 
Le Folk-Lore de Lesbos, pp. 337 — 8. 

Bird Legends 293 

A third story embodying a similar idea, but possessing a 
more romantic interest, is the one told about the ring-dove 

III. The Ring-dove, 1 
(From Sevres.) 

It is said that this gentle and affectionate bird was once a 
young married woman, who was passionately fond of knitting. 
She had a wicked old woman for a mother-in-law, who always 
sought or invented pretexts for scolding and beating her. One 
day, after having maltreated her as usual, she went out to pay 
calls, and left her daughter-in-law to make bread. The latter 
kneaded and baked the bread — eighteen loaves in all — and 
then sat down to her favourite occupation. The old woman on 
her return home found her knitting and began to upbraid her, 
saying that there were only seventeen loaves and that she had 
stolen one. The poor girl protested that there were eighteen. 
But the other, who could not bear contradiction, grew angry 
and began to beat her ruthlessly. The girl, no longer able to 
submit to this injustice, besought God that she might be trans- 
formed into a bird and thus escape from her cruel tyrant's 
clutches. Her prayer was answered and she suddenly became 
a ring-dove. She still protests sadly that the loaves were 
eighteen by crying Decochto ! decochto ! (Setfo%Ta>), whence her 
nauie decochtura, and to this day retains the circular dark 
marking left on her neck by the thread which she had round it, 
while knitting, at the moment of her change. 

These quaint tales, so full of simple sympathy with the 
feathered creatures to which human passions and human 
feelings are naively ascribed, find their counterparts in several 
Slavonic ioiK-suories, wnicn, nowever, are mostly conceived m a 
religious spirit. The piteous cry of the pee-wit has suggested 
to the Russian peasant the notion that it is begging for water 

1 This story was told to me by M. Horologas, the theological master at the 
Gymnasium of Serres, who is a native of Asia Minor. But, as I heard it in 
Macedonia and have no evidence that it is not known in that province, I venture 
to include it in the present collection. 

294 Macedonian Folklore 

(peet, ' to drink '), and a pious legend has been invented to 
account for its thirst : it is a punishment for the bird's dis- 
obedience to the Lord's behest to aid in the creation of the 
seas, rivers, and lakes of the earth. The sparrows chirping is 
explained as Jif! Jif! or " He (viz. Christ) is living! He is 
living !" thus urging on His tormentors to fresh cruelties ; but 
the swallow, with opposite intent, cried : Timer ! Urner ! " He is 
dead ! He is dead !" Therefore it is that to kill a swallow is a 
sin, and that its nest brings good luck to a house. 1 

1 Ealston, Bussian Folk-Tales, pp. 331 — 332. The Indians of America have 
also construed the notes of birds, like the robin and the tomtit, into human 
language, see Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. vn. p. 58. 



A far-travelled Game. 

One of the favourite pastimes of the Macedonian peasantry 
is the game known by the name of " The Meeting of Three 
Roads " (to TpcoSi). It is identical with our Nine Men's Morris 
and is played in the following manner. A diagram consisting 
of three squares, one within the other, is drawn with a piece of 
chalk or charcoal upon a flat surface, a stone or board or table, 
as the case may be. The squares are joined with lines drawn 
across from the middle of the inner to the middle of the outer 
sides (fig. 1) and sometimes with diagonals as well (fig. 2). 

Fie. 1. Fi£. 2. 

The battle-field thus prepared, each of the two combatants 
is armed with nine pebbles, beans, grains, sticks, bits of paper 
or what not, of a colour different from that of the pieces of his 
opponent. The lead is decided by an appeal to chance. This 
is done in one or the other of several ways. First by means of 

296 Macedonian Folklore 

the familiar odd or even ? {p,ovd i) £vyd ;). Next, by concealing 
a small object in one band and then putting the question : 
cuckoo or wind? (kovkko? rj avefio?;), cuckoo representing the 
fist which contains the object, and wind the other. Thirdly, by 
wetting one side of a sherd of pottery and throwing it up into 
the air. Before it has come to the ground the question sun or 
rain? (ijktos rj fipoxrj ;) is asked, sun being the dry, and rain 
the wet side. Lastly, by tossing up a coin and asking the 
Greek equivalent of our heads or tails? (rovpas rj ypd/jLfiara, 
i.e. Imperial cipher or letters ?). 

The winner opens the campaign by planting down one of 
his pieces at some point of intersection, and is followed by 
his opponent. This is done by the two players alternately 
until all the pieces are placed. The end towards which each of 
them strives is to get three pieces in a row — to make a trio 
{yd Kavrj rpioSt) — and to prevent his adversary from attaining 
the same end. When all the pieces are disposed of, they are 
moved, one place at a time, by turns, with the same object in 
view. He who has made a trio is entitled to one of his 
opponent's pieces. The struggle goes on with varying fortune 
until one of the combatants is left with only two pieces. Then 
the battle is lost and won. 

The game, as may be imagined, gives scope for considerable 
display of strategical skill both in the placing and in the moving 
of the pieces. By a judicious choice of captives the winner can 
render his enemy helpless. The decisive advantage, and the 
one at which both sides aim, is the establishment of what is 
technically known as a " double door" {BcTropro), that is, two 
trios, which can be managed by moving one piece to and fro ; 
" opening" one and "closing" the other simultaneously. When 
this advantage is secured the victory is a foregone conclusion. 

The game is also popular in Southern Greece. Its name 
seems to point to the antiquity of its origin, 1 though evidence 
of its being known in classical times is wanting. An essentially 
similar, though simpler game, however, was known to the Romans. 
The Latin form corresponded to our Elizabethan Nine-holes, 

1 rpi68i(ov) is not used in Modern Greek except in reference to the game, the 
ordinary name for a meeting of three roads being Tpiarparo. 

Miscellaneous Notes 297 

and was played with three instead of nine pebbles. The 
point, nevertheless, was the same : "to range one's pebbles in a 
continuous line." 1 

Like most popular sports the Triodi in various forms, more 
or less developed, has helped many and widely -separated races 
to kill the universal enemy. In Rome the game was considered 
favourable to the promotion of friendly intercourse between 
youths and maidens, so much so that Ovid, than whom none 
was more deeply versed in matters of this kind, pronounces it 
"a shame for a damsel not to know how to play it"; for 
u ludendo saepe paratur amor!' The old Egyptians also loved 
their own variant of the game, while the fierce Vikings of the 
North beguiled with it the tedium of their long sea-voyages. 
Their favourite variety of the game, to judge from a fragment 
of a board found in a Viking ship some years ago, corresponds to 
our fig. 1. Shakespeare mentions the more complex form 
of the game, 2 which under various denominations still survives 
in many English counties. The most familiar of all the 
varieties is, of course, the Noughts and Crosses in which school- 
boys, those great preservers of ancient tradition, indulge to 
this day. 3 

The game of Morra. 

Among the Jews of Salonica, the vast majority of whom are 
the descendants of Spanish refugees expelled by Ferdinand 
and Isabella, there survives a game common throughout 
Southern Europe and known to the French as mourre, and to 
the Italians and the Spaniards as morra. It is by the latter 
name that the Jews of Salonica call it. Groups of shoeblacks 
can be seen at all times of the day, sitting on the pavement 
either as players or as lookers on. It is played by two, each 

- jjurua itiueiiu capu lernos urrimque tapiuos, in qua uicisse est conttnuasse 
snos. Ovid, Ars Am. in. 365 ; Trist. 11. 481. 

2 "The nine-men's morris is fill'd up with mud." Midsummer Night's 
Dream, Act u. Sc. 2. 

3 For a full account of the game and its history, so far as it has been 
investigated, see A. K. Goddard, 'Nine Men's Morris 'in the Saga-Book of the 
Viking Club, Jan. 1901, pp. 376 foil. 

298 Macedonian Folklore 

throwing out a hand and both vociferating simultaneously the 
sum of all the fingers stretched out. He who succeeds in 
guessing the right number scores a point. 

It is a variety of the class designated " addition games " or 
" counting games/' which under one form or another are 
prevalent in many widely distant parts of the globe. The 
morra, or a near relative to it, under the name of " finger- 
flashing " (micare digitis), was very popular among the ancient 
Romans, 1 who also had a proverb derived from it : " You can 
play at finger-flashing with him in the dark!" 2 they used to 
say of an exceptionally scrupulous and honest man. A variety 
of the game can be seen in English nurseries; another in 
English country lanes, the latter being also mentioned by 
Petronius Arbiter, who lived in the time of Nero. The New 
Zealanders, Samoans, Chinese, and Japanese among modern 
nations, and the sculptures of the ancient Egyptians, supply us 
with a variety of finger-games, more or less closely akin to the 
morra. 3 

Fire- Ordeal. 

"Even if he bite red-hot iron, I will not believe him." 
(Kal crtSepo /ea/Jbevo va 8ay/cd<T Se' tov Trtareva).) 

"Even if she tread upon fire, I will not believe her." 
( 9 rrf (fycorid va irarrja Se' 6a rrjv TrMTTeyjro).) 

These two phrases, which I heard on two different occasions 
in two different towns of Macedonia, Salonica and Serres, 
apparently embody a reminiscence of the ancient rite of passing 
through fire or leaping over burning brands or coals — an ordeal 
familiar to the reader of mediaeval histories and not yet quite 
forgotten even in this country. 4 

1 Cic. Be Biv. n. 85 ; Be Off. in. 90. 

2 dignum esse, dicunt, quicum in tenebris mices, Cic. Be Off. m. 77. 

3 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. pp. 74 foil. 

4 Tylor, lb. vol. i. p. 85. 

Miscellaneous Notes 299 

The two expressions, taken together, form a strikingly close, 
though of course quite fortuitous, paraphrase of the allusion to 
the same ordeal, contained in the Guard's speech in Sophocles : 

* * We are ready to lift masses of red-hot iron in our hands, 
and to pass through fire, and to appeal to the gods by oath 
that we neither did it, etc. 5 ' 1 

The Ass. 

The peasants of the peninsula of Cassandra (ancient Pallene) 
call the ass by the name of Kyr (Mister) Mendios. The name 
seems to be derived from Mende, an ancient Eretrian colony in 
this part of Macedonia. That the ass was held in high esteem 
among the inhabitants of Mende is a fact resting on the 
tangible evidence of the coins of the colony. The ass, or the 
head of one, is a favourite device on these coins. In the oldest 
specimens the animal figures on the obverse with a phallic 
significance. Most of the later types represent Dionysos in 
various postures, sometimes lying on the back of an ass, or 
bear the effigy of that animal on the reverse. 

The culture of the vine, for which Mende was famed, 
accounts for the veneration paid to the god of wine, and the ass, 
apart from all phallic significance, enjoyed a full share of 
recognition as being the animal above all others useful to the 
Macedonian peasant in olden times, as it is to this day. It is not 
unlikely that for this very reason the asses of Mende may have 
excelled those of less favoured districts, and a " Mendaean ass " 
(6V09 MevSalo?) may have been a common phrase, whence the 
modern humorous appellation Mister Mendios (Mev&yos). 

It must further be observed that in Modern Greek, even 
more than in English, the term ass (ydiSapos) suggests an 
insult, and the Greeks (especially the peasants) are always 

delicacy forces them to use euphemisms, for example, " the 

1 T Hfiev S' 'froifJLOi Kal fitidpovs alpetv x e P°w 
Kal irvp diipiretv Kal deoiis dpK&fioTeiv 
rb fjL-fjTe 5pa<rai etc. Soph. Ant. 264 foil. 

300 Macedonian Folklore 

beast" 1 (to £g>') par excellence. One of the most amusing 
subterfuges of this description which came to my notice was 
at Nigrita. In that district the title of Exarch (e£ap%os) is 
familiarly applied to the ass, the sobriquet having originated as 
an expression of Orthodox Hellenic contempt for the schismatic 
Bulgarian ecclesiastic of that title. 

When a euphemism or a sobriquet is not ready at hand, and 
the Macedonian peasant finds himself compelled to call an ass 
an ass, he introduces the offensive term with the formula 
" De gg m g" your pardon " (//.e avfnrdOeio), a formula likewise 
accompanying the mention of a mule (/MovXapc), a cucumber 
(ayryovpt), and other words which to the rustic ear sound 

The perils of portraiture. 

At Salonica I one day witnessed a scene which was both 
entertaining and instructive. An old negress was sitting on 
the pavement with a small basket of baked chick-peas on one 
side, a small tray of honey cakes on the other, and a stout 
staff across her knees. The old lady was on the look out for 
customers and on her guard against the mischievous street 
urchins. Suddenly an enemy of a different type aroused her 
wrath. This was no other than a French tourist who, attracted 
by her picturesque appearance, had taken up his station on 
the opposite side of the street and was complacently placing 
his camera in position, preparatory to snap-shotting the black 
lady. But he was not destined to carry out his design. The 
Frenchman proposed but the negress disposed, and that in 
a manner not calculated to encourage a repetition of the 
attempt. The old lady's emotion evidently sprang from deeper 
sources than mere feminine modesty. Though I did not deem 
it safe to approach her on the subject, she seemed to be animated 
by the fear lest a portrait of her face should be followed by 
her death. 

1 Cp. the analogous use of the word "animal" for "bullock "in English, 
and of "irrational" (sc. animal) (d\oyo) for "horse" in Modern Greek. 

Miscellaneous Notes 301 

This superstition is exceedingly wide-spread. A parallel 
instance from a Greek island is quoted by Mr Frazer, who 
has also collected and classified a number of analogous cases 
from all parts of the world 1 , from Scotland to the lands of 
the Battas, the Canelos Indians, and other brother-barbarians 
of East and West. 

A School Superstition. 

Salonica schoolboys hold that a hair stretched across the 
palm of the hand will make the master's cane split. English 
schoolboys entertain an identical belief in a hair, but it must 
be a horsehair. "If the hair be plucked fresh from the tail 
of a living horse so much the better." 2 Their Macedonian 
contemporaries are not so fastidious; any hair will do for 
them, provided it is not thick or dark enough to attract the 
master's attention. 

1 The Golden Bough, vol. i. pp. 295 foil. 

2 T. Parker Wilson, ' School Superstitions,' in The Royal Magazine, Sept. 1901. 



The riddles given below form an inexhaustible source of 
amusement to the peasants. When conversation flags, it is the 
riddle that saves the face of the host. At weddings and other 
festivals they serve to fill the gaps between the songs. At 
the midsummer feast of the KXtfSovas in some parts the 
riddles take the place of the love-couplets in general vogue. 
This last is the only occasion on which the riddle may be said 
to retain some shred of the dignity which mythologists ascribe 
to it. According to many authorities, Mr Tylor among them, 
"the sense riddle" was in earlier times " an enigma fraught 
with mythical meaning — an oracular utterance, clothed in dark 
language." 2 The oracular significance of the riddle has been 
completely lost in Macedonia, with the exception of the dim 
memory which lingers in the KXrfSovas divining rites. At all 
other times the riddle is a pastime pure and simple. 

Many of the following examples are ingenious; some far- 
fetched, and a few positively absurd, though this is largely a 
matter of taste. They all, or nearly all, however, in order to 
be estimated at their true value, or indeed in order to be at all 
understood, require a certain familiarity with the Macedonian 
peasant's life. Some of them are purposely couched in am- 

1 These riddles have been collected by the writer during his travels up and 
down the country ; but he afterwards compared his own stock with the contents 
of a booklet already mentioned (A. A. Tovcriov, *'H kcltcl to Udyyaiop Xi6/>a ') 
and found that several of them are given in it. Cp. G. Georgeakis et Leon 
Pineau, Le Folk-Lore de Lesbos, pp. 289 foil. 

2 Balston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 346. 

Riddles 303 

biguous phraseology ; for the Macedonian farmer, like the 
French wit of a certain class, delights in double-entendre. Of 
this last category I will translate only those which can be 
read without a blush. The rest may remain in the decent 
obscurity of the original. 1 In justice to the ingenious authors 
of these risque compositions, it should be observed that what 
to a school-bred ear may sound coarse, is nothing but legitimate 
humour to the less fastidious and more natural folk of the 
fields. The songs and tales incorporated in the present volume 
amply testify to the Macedonian's delicacy of taste, where this 
quality is called for. If he occasionally likes to indulge in a 
kind of drollery which reminds one too forcibly of Balzac's 
tales, the offence may readily be pardoned. 

I have made no attempt at geographical classification ; for, 
with a few exceptions duly noted, I heard the same riddles over 
and over again in different parts of the country, as the number 
of variants shows. With regard to the translations I have 
above all things aimed at accuracy and lucidity, two qualities 
which can best be secured in plain prose ; but in some cases 
I have ventured to limp in numbers, when the numbers came. 

1 See Appendix VI. 

304 Macedonian Folklore 

f/ Ez>a irpafjua fiayXvvo, 

K# anro fieaa fiaWtapo, 

K?; airo fxecra \ to fjuaWl 

s, ^X €i f 1 ^ pmovicia, KaXrj. (fcd<rravo.) 


ILiXioTpxrirriTo \arjvc 

Kat 7TOT6S vepo he %vvet, (o-fpovyydpi.) 


Uereivb? 2 w^aro?, vv^oTroBapdro^ 3 

UepTrareL teal /cptvec ttj Bt,/ccuoo~vvr). (/cavrdpi.) 

'Aarjfievio irrjyaSd/ci, 


XfCV(j)T 6 \d<j>Tapo$ /cat Trivet, 
Ovr 6 \d<f)Tapo$ 'XppraiveLy 
Ovre to TrrjydK %r]paiv€i. (/3v£i.) 

"Ao-irpa fiavpa 7Tp6j3aTa, !;v\evLO<? TaofiTrdv^. (d/j,7ri\i.) 

Mat/pa aenrpa tcl Xa^revTa ical ^Tjprj J vat r) ireTcra. 


1 Lit. 'things to be found out.' The modern word pptro may either be a 
modification of the old form cvperdv, as is commonly held, or it may have 
originated in the question which generally follows the enunciation of the riddle: 
Bp<* to (pi. Bpi to) \ "find it out!" 

2 var. derds. 

3 var. "A77eXos vvx&tos kolI o-Kavra-apcovdros. 

4 This variant I obtained at Melenik, but there is strong internal evidence 
to show that it comes from Western Macedonia ; for the word Xaxr^ra is peculiar 
to the dialect of the latter district. It is Wallachian, and, like its Latin original 
(lactentia), means (1) ' sucking lambs,' (2) 'milky, i.e. juicy things.' At Melenik 
my informant vaguely and erroneously interpreted it ' trifles ' (/xticpd irpdyfiara). 

Riddles 305 



Without as smooth as glass, 

Within a woolly mass. 

But hid amid the wool 

There lurks a nice mouthful. (A chestnut.) 


A pitcher with a thousand chinks, 

Yet ne'er lets out the water it drinks. (A sponge.) 


A cock with claws and hooked feet, 

He proudly struts along the street 

And gives each man what's fair and meet. (A steelyard.) 

To silver spring with narrow chink 

The thirsty stoops his fill to drink. 

But neither does he have his till, 

Nor does he drain the silver rill. (A mother's breast.) 


White sheep and black sheep 

Wooden shepherds keep. (Grapes and the vine stakes.) 
Black or white are the juicy things, 1 and dry is their skin. (Grapes.) 

1 See note on the original. 

A. P. 


306 Macedonian Folklore 

M kareikev rj fidva /jlov vol fie Soiay? to ralvracXc, to 
fitvTo~i\i, yta va TacvTaiXcdcrovfie fcal va fjuLVTa-tXtdaovfie real 
ttoKl va a to fyepco. (fcavrdpi.) 

KairpofLaKkris kjj aaTrpoyivrjs pueaa '9 ttj 7779 ycofievos. 



Atto irdvov crdv TTjydvi, 

Atto tcaTOv aav {3a/jL/3dKi, 
K# awo iricrov aav yjraXiSc. 
Hi elfiat; (%€Xi86va.) 

^nfkoSy yfrrfXof; KaXoyepos Kal KOKKaXa Sev e%e^. (tcairvos.) 


2tft£&), /jlv^co to BaSi, /3piaKco fieaa 

Nu</>?7 Kal ya/j,7rpo, 

TieOepd /cal TreOepo. (/capvSi.) 


VT7I tf V 

hj^ct) eva icaTL 
Me<r' '9 eva aevTOV/cdfci, 
Me TroWd /cXetStd tckeicfxevo 
Kal tcaXd aqyovpefjuevo, 

"Av TO Xdor' aVTO TO KOLTb 

Tl to 6e)C to aevTOVKaKi; {^v^r}.) 


f OXr) /juepa Tpoj€i Kpeas, Kal to /3/oaS peTpa Ta acrTpa. 


Riddles 307 


My mother's love, and give to me 

The chink-chink, the jingle-jingle, 

To chink-chink and jingle-jingle, 

And then she'll send it back to thee. (A steelyard.) 


Hoary beard and hoary hair, 

'Neath the earth he has his lair. (A leek.) 

My back as frying-pan does appear ; 

Beneath a snowy breast ; 
A pair of scissors jut in the rear ; 

What am I ? have you guessed ? (A swallow.) 


A lanky monk and lean, 

Yet not a bone is seen. (A column of smoke.) 


I chop the pine and find inside 

A mother, father, groom and bride. (A walnut.) 


I keep a tiny something in a tiny box, 
Secured under many keys and many locks : 
If the tiny something breaketh loose, 
Of the tiny box what is the use ? (The soul.) 


He feeds on beef the livelong day, 

At night he scans the Milky Way 1 . (A prod or goad.) 

1 The prod, with which the husbandman urges on his team in ploughing, is 
left at night outside the cottage in a corner, the sharp point upwards, staring, as 
it were, at the star-bespangled sky. 


308 Macedonian Folklore 


K\€l8d>V(0 /JLCLVTaXcOVGO 1 koX TOP fC\4(f>T d(f>iv(o z fiecra. 

KXecScovco to (TiriraKi fiov teal fiecra fc\€<f>T7]$ Trepirarel. 


"Acnrpo elvai to ^a)pd(f)i 

Kal fieXa<y%poLvos 6 airopos, 

Kat fJLtXel /cal avvTv^aivet 

Lav ifcelvov irov to airepvei. (ypdyfrifio.) 

Yovpvd fiov wekeKTjTriy 
Kai aKafifievrj teal x VT7 l> 
Tldei r) fidva fiov vd ttltj* 
Ovt r) fjudva fiov yopTaivei, 

OvT 7] JOVpva $€V dheid^ei. (fl€Ta\afil,d.) 


To <f>€lSt Tp<i><y rrj OdXaaaa, k r) OaXaacra to <f>etSi. 


Ada/caXe fiov, djaOe fiov, 
M* eheipes /cal ecfrvya. 
'2 tov Spofiov oitov irdaiva 
Meya Orjpid diravTrjo-a' 
Et^e K€(f)dXia Trevre, 
Teao-epai? dvairvoal<;, 
mpta, TroSdpta etfcoo'i, 
. Ni^a €/car6' 

Av Tcovpys, tl v avTO ; (XeiYavo.) 

BacrtXea? &ev elfiai, tcopcova <j>opa) y 
'PoXo£ hev e^G), 7779 oopai? fieTpoj. (tt€T€Lv6^.) 

1 var. fjareparibvcj. 

2 var. fiplvKu. 

Riddles 309 


The doors are fast with locks and chains, 

And yet the thief admittance gains. (The sun.) 

The seed is dark, but white the field, 
It speaks and talks as he who tilled. 1 (Writing.) 

To yonder carved, golden lake 
My mother goes her thirst to slake. 
But nor does she her thirst allay, 
Nor fails the carved, golden bay. (Holy Communion.) 


A little snake swallows the lake, 

And then the lake swallows the snake. (The wick of an oil lamp.) 

My master, you'd flog me ; I fled, 
And on as I sped, 
A horrid beast I meet: 
With twice five hands and feet, 
Of heads it owned five 
With breathings four alive, 
Of nails five score, 
Neither more nor less, 
Master, can't you guess? (A funeral.) 

King am I none, 
Yet a crown on my head I wear. 
Watch have I none, 

T7-_J. J-l_„ i.: T J 1 /A 1- \ 

1 Cp. the Albanian riddle: "The field is white, the seed is black; it is sown 
with the hand and reaped with the mouth— What is it?" "A letter." Hahn, 
in Tozer, Researches in the Highlands of Turkey, vol. i. p. 211. 

310 Macedonian Folklore 

Tptyvpw, yvpco /cdytceXa zeal /meo-a rrdiria tceXaiheZ. 

<$>opTG>fi€vo tcapaftdtcL \ rr) airrfXeid iraaiv fcfj dpd^ei, 


ISiid fjudva eZ%e eva Traihi, teal /jua dXXrj pudva eZ^e V aXXo 
ircuhl, teal '9 rb So^dro rpeis fcddovvrav. 

(Mam, Ovyarepa Krj dyyovi].) 

(Of literary or perhaps priestly origin.) 

*HX0ov Xrjaral /caraXvaai rrjv iroXtv, zeal r/ fjuev ttoXc? 
Sie<f>vy€v t ol he ndroiKoi avveXrjc^drjaav, (dXtei? fcal ypiTros.) 


Me rbv rfXio rd ftyd^ei, tf 

Me rbv f/Xco rd fiird^et} (rd £«a.) 


Td fjLdfcpvd /copra, (fidrta), 

Td &vo ae rpia, (irohapia), 

M<z%a\a? 'xdXaae, (hovria). (yepd/iara.) 


%KOLVid dirXdivei, 
Kovftdpia fia^cbvet. 
"Opvida tcava, icava, 
Tlr)$a '9 rbv rolyp fcal yevva. (icoXoicvdid.) 

Avo /coprjTcrovSia dir rd jiaXXcd rpafttovvTcu. (Xavdpia.) 

1 The Macedonian farmer dabxvei ra fwa to raxtf, and r<x dix^ai to ppddv. 
These are the technical terms for "driving out" and "driving in" cattle. 

Riddles 311 


A fence of stakes all round the pen, 

And in the midst a cackling hen. (The tongue.) 


A hollow ship with freight of slops 

Inside a cave her anchor drops. (A spoon.) 


A daughter had a mother, 
A second had another, 
They sit together in the hall, 
And yet there are but three in all. 

(Grandmother, daughter and granddaughter.) 


Pirates came a town to sack: 
The folk are caught, the town falls back. 
(Fishermen and the seine ; the fish are caught, the sea escapes through 
the meshes of the net.) 


Out with the sun, 

In with the sun. (The cattle.) 


The long short, (eyes), 

The two three, (legs plus walking staff), 

The castle ruined, (teeth). (Old age.) 

It spreads out ropes and gathers up coils. 


A hen clucks, clucks. She then springs upon the wall and lays her 
eggs there. (The pumpkin-plant.) 


312 Macedonian Folklore 


Tii(T(0 9 TO O-TTtTClfCt fJL VV<f)lT<Ta KCLfJiapddVei. (/COTTpld.) 


c O #€£09 fJ>ov KopToOo&copos ae crapdvTct, iraTrXeofiaTa rv\t- 
fievo?. (\d%avo.) 


' Ez/a? \fr7}\6<;, y(rr}\b$ fcaXoyepos ical ttr\TTa V to /ce<f)d\c. 


TlpoaK€\a>v€i 6 f3d0pa/ca<;, /cdffeTav 6 /JLavpoyivrjs. 



'A7to nrdvw ireraovhi, 
'A7ro fcdrco 7r€T<rovBi, 
'2 Ttj fiearj IfiraovSt. (tcdaravo.) 

'O Oeios fiov XarfyOoSeopo? fie Befco^roo ^ovvdpia. 

"E^ft> avTpa fie BeKO^Tcio 1 ^ovvdpia. 

'O 0€io$ fiov K.ovTO7rl0apo$ %ova/j,ivo$ fie crapdvTa ^ovvdpia. 



"Ep£<0 eva ftape\dfcc 

Me Si/o \oytco Kpaadfcc. (avyo.) 


Y$t,pl3(,pLT0~a dvaifialvei, 

l^^p^LpLTa-a fcaTat/3aiV€i. 

9 I1 %apa V tt) /3ip/3tpLTca 

'II dvaifialv ical KaTai/3aivei. (o-fcovTra.) 

1 var. aapavToxrw or (English) <rapdPTa. 

Riddles 313 


At the back of my cottage there is a little bride standing proudly. 

(A dunghill.) 


My Uncle Theodore the Short wrapt up in forty blankets. 

(A cabbage.) 

A tall lanky monk with a pie on his head. (The oil-lamp-stand.) 


The frog spreads out his legs and Blackbeard sits on him. 

(The kettle on the trivet.) 


Skin on top, skin beneath, in the middle a morsel. (A chestnut.) 


My Uncle Hadji -Theodore girt with eighteen belts. 

I have a husband girt with eighteen belts. 

My Uncle Stubby-jar girt with forty belts. (A cask.) 


I have a little barrel containing two sorts of wine. (An egg.) 


A smart little maid comes up, 
A smart little maid goes down. 

Who goes up and down ! (A broom.) 

314 Macedonian Folklore 

35. fcovrr) k evas yfrTjXos' 
S(f)Vpi^ rj kovtt), %op€V* 6 tyrjXos. 

(rai/cpi/ci, icy ape fir].} 


Teaaepa iraihtd, 

"Ftva t a\Xo fcvvrjya. (dvefirj.) 


f O Oeios fiov KovroOoScopos fie<r '9 V ayvpa KvXierai. 



"KiXioi /jlvXioi KaXoyepou 
'2 eva pdao rvXc/Jbivoc. 


"KiXvys ixvkirjs fceparaovScu? \ eva irdirXaafxa rvXi/Jbevaw* 


'KiXia fivXia Yeviradpia \ eva povyo rvXt/xeva. 



Kafc rr) 7779 rpvira teal ftyaivei. (/juavrdpt,.) 

tyvxtoi? iraipvei ical rpe^et. (tcapafii.) 


v A/ia\\o9 fiaXXl Bev ef^ei. 

KwXov ej^et, oupa Sez/ e^e^. (adXiayicas.y 

Riddles 315 


A short maid and a tall youth : 

The short maid plays the pipe, the tall youth dances. 1 
(The spinning wheel and the winding frame.) 

Four boys chasing one another. (The winding frame.) 


My little Uncle Theodore rolling in the straw. (An egg.) 


A thousand, ten thousand monks wrapt up in one cassock. 


A thousand, ten thousand maids wrapt up in one blanket. 


A thousand, ten thousand Janizaries wrapt up in one cloak. 

(A pomegranate.) 


He is soulless, has no soul, yet he pierces through the earth and comes 
out. (A mushroom.) 

She is soulless, has no soul, yet she takes souls and flees. (A ship.) 


He is hairless, has no hair ; he has a hind part, but has no tail. 2 

(A snail.) 

1 The Albanian version of this riddle is "The monkey dances, while the 
white cow is milked. — What is it?" "The spinning wheel." Hahn, in Tozer, 
aesearcnes m zne siignuinas oj ±urKey y vui. i. p. *ii. 

2 Cp. the Albanian version: "Though it is not an ox, it has horns; though 
it is not an ass, it has a pack-saddle; and wherever it goes it leaves silver 
behind. — What is it?" "A snail." Hahn, in Tozer, ib. 

316 Macedonian Folklore 

T?7 vvyra tcvpd, ttj /juepa BovXa. ((TKOvira.) 


Tt] fjuepa rvXec rvXei, 

Tr) vvyra arrorvXei. (crrpw/xa.) 

f/ OX?/ fjuepa fcpepaafievos 
Kal to ftpdSv (T7)fcoi)fjLevo$. (/j,dvraXo<;.) 

To fjbaXXl fiaXXl 7rXaK(6v€i Kal rrj Tpvira dtpairevei. 


"E^ft) V€p6 ; ttlvco Kpaal. 

Aev e\w vepb; Trlvco vepo. (fivXa)va<z.) 

Xt\&a avdaneXa, %iXia irpov/uuvra. (tcepafjuibia.) 

Tidvfo '? to cririTdfct fju €va <j>t,Xl ireirovL. (<f>€yy dpi.) 

Have* '<? rd fcepa/JLL&ta 
r/ YLva kogkivo /capvSia. 1 (acrrpa.) 

1 var. icapijdia aTrXufifra. 

Riddles 317 

At night an idle lady, in the day-time a housemaid. (A broom.) 

In the day rolled up, at night rolled out. (A mattress.) 

All day lying down, he rises in the evening. 1 (The door- bolt.) 

Hair meets hair, and they protect the hole. (The eye.) 

Have I water? I drink wine. 
Have I no water? I drink water. (A miller.) 

A thousand legs up, a thousand noses down. (The tiles on the roof.) 2 

Over the roof of my cottage there is a slice of melon. (The moon.) 

Over the tiles of my roof there is a sieve full of nuts. 3 (The stars.) 

1 Cp. the Zulu riddle on the same subject : 

Q. "Guess ye a man who does not lie down at night: he lies down in the 
morning until the sun sets ; he then awakes, and works all night ; he does not 
work by day; he is not seen when he works." 

A. "The closing-poles of the cattle-pen." 

Callaway, in Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 91. 

2 The tiles are curved and lie in rows : convex and concave alternately. 

3 With this riddle cp. the Spanish : 

"What is the dish of nuts that is gathered by day, and scattered by night? " — 
"The stars." Tylor, ib., p. 92. 

A still closer parallel is furnished by the Lithuanian zagddka in which the 
sky is likened to "a sieve full of nuts." The idea is also found in one of its 

moon. Ealston, Songs of the Russian People, pp. 347, 348. Ralston remarks : 
The oldest zagadki seem to have referred to the elements and the heavenly 
bodies, finding likenesses to them in various material shapes. 

318 Macedonian Folklore 

YLokkivo /jLovacrTrjpt, fie fiavpovs /caXoyipovs. (tcapTrovfy.) 

To Sevo) irepirarel, to \vvcd areKerav. (rcrapovxi.) 

52. 1 

"AicapTros ere cucapTrov fie Svo raov^dXta avvfyavra rjpOe koX 
yvpevec alfia airo £v\o. 

1 This riddle I heard at Cavalla from a native of Southern Greece. 

Riddles 319 

A red monastery inhabited by black monks. (A water-melon.) 

I bind it, and it walks ; I loose it, and it stops. (A sandal.) 


A fruitless one comes to a fruitless one, with two sacks which had not 
been woven, and begs of him blood from wood. (A bachelor comes to 
another bachelor, with a couple of goatskins and asks him for wine.) 

Theological Riddles. 

Perhaps it would not be uninteresting to give in this 
connection a few examples of a branch of popular literature 
which resembles the riddle in form, though its origin is entirely 
different. This is a kind of Catechism, a lesson in scriptural 
lore, consisting of questions and answers ; a method of con- 
veying knowledge once extremely popular in the East and by 
no means confined to sacred subjects. Indeed all sciences from 
Theology to Philology were once treated in this manner, and 
the earliest modern text-book of Greek Grammar — the Erote- 
mata of Manuel Chrysoloras, who lectured on Greek at Florence 
from 1397 to 1400 — was written in that form. 1 The volume of 
MSS. which has already yielded a plentiful crop of medical 
lore 2 supplies me with the following selection of theological 

1 Sir K. C. Jebb, 'The Classical Renaissance, ' Cambridge Modern History, 
vol. i. pp. 541 — 2. 

2 v. supra, pp. 230 foil. ; infra, Appendix IV. 

320 Macedonian Folklore 

Eip(brr]<Ti<; iraXaia /ecu diroicpicn,*;. 1 

Ep. — T/9 fJbrj yevvqdels dnredave /ecu aTroOavibv ek ttjv 
KoCklav t^9 f*<r)T pb$ avrov ird<f>rj ; 
'A7T. — 'O s ASa/x. 

Ep. — ' AXaXos dypa<j>ov iirtaToXrjv ^aard^cov epyerai eh 
ttoXiv dOe/jueXicoTOv ; 

Air. — AitocttoXos fj irepiaTepd, iirto~ToXr) to /cdp^o? 7779 
iXalas, iroXis V /ciftfOTo? tov Nwe. 

'Ep. — U6t€ eydpy) oXos 6 tcoafios ; 

'A7T. — "Qrav ifjfjXdov 01 jiera Nwe 669 [= dirb ?] ttjv kl- 


Ep. — Tlore diredave to TerapTov tov /coct/jlov ; 
'A7r. — ''Otciv dirkicTeivev 6 Kd'Cv top "A/3e\. 

'Ep. — T/9 airedave zeal ovtc oo^ijo-eVy aXX' ovtc evpeOrj ovTe 
€Td(f>r] ; 

'Ait. — Tov Acot rj yvvrj, 6t€ direXcdcodT) teal iyeveTo ctttJXij 

'Ep. — Tt9 ttjv ihiav 0vyaT€pa eXaftev els yvvai/ca ; 
'Air. — 'O AS dp, ttjv EiW, \fj] €k ttjs irXevpds avTOv rjv. 

'Ep. — T/9 yftevfiaTa elircov aeacoo-Tai, real dXr}0eiav elircbp 
dirooXeTO ; 

'Air. — Tlerpos dpvrjad/jLevos top Xpto~Tov eaoodrj, /cat 'lovSa? 
elirwv, bv av (f>tXrja(o clvtos iaTiv, diratXeTO. 

'Ep. — Ti Xeyei' irairds dyeipOTovrfTo?, Sid/copos dpvTjaiOeos, 
/C7)7rovpo<; dyevvr)To$ ; 

'Air. — Uaird? ayeipoTOPi^TOS lcodvvrjs o HaiTTiCTrjs, Bid tcovos 
6 Il€Tp09, /crjirovpbs 6 'ASd/JL. 

1 The spelling is reduced to the uniformity of accepted rules. A servile 
adherence to the scribe's orthographical eccentricities would have served no 
purpose but to enhance the reader's mystification. These eccentricities belong 
to the class abundantly illustrated in Appendices III. and IV. 

Riddles 321 

Ancient Questions and Ansivers. 

Q. — Who not being born died, and having died was buried in his 
mother's womb? 
A. — Adam. 

Q. — A messenger that could not speak, bearing a letter that was not 
written, came to a city that had no foundations? 

A. — Messenger the dove, letter the olive leaf, city Noah's ark. 

Q. — When did the whole of mankind rejoice? 

A. — When those who were with Noah came out of the ark. 

Q. — When did a quarter of mankind die? 
A.~When Cain killed Abel 

Q. — Who died and did not smell, but was neither found nor buried ? 
A. — The wife of Lot, when she was petrified and became a pillar 
of salt. 

Q. — Who took his own daughter to wife ? 

A. — Adam took Eve, who was born of his rib. 

q — Who having lied was saved, and who having spoken the truth 
perished ? 

A. — Peter by denying Christ was saved, and Judas by saying " Whom- 
soever I shall kiss, that same is he " perished. 

Q. — What is the meaning of : an unordained priest, a renegade deacon, 
•an unborn gardener ? 

A. — The unordained priest is John the Baptist, the deacon is Peter, 
the gardener is Adam. 

A. F. 21 

322 Macedonian Folklore 

Analogous to these question and answer compositions are 
the old French and English collections which would now be 
called riddle-books. One of them, entitled Demands Joyous, 
which may be rendered Amusing Questions, was printed in 
English by Wynkyn de Worde, in 1511. From this work, of 
which one copy only is said to be extant, the writer in The 
Book of Days has culled a few "demands" with their 
" responses." 1 

With some of these specimens also compare the riddles 
(ten questions) propounded by the Drakos in Hahn (III. Trjvia/cd 
1. To nrapafjuvOu rod Apd/cov), 2 where the hero by the help of the 
wise old woman answers them all and the Drakos bursts. 

Riddle-stories of this description are likewise common among 
the Slavs. 3 

Two Poems of Mystic Meaning. 

Extract from E. B. Tylor's Primitive Culture, Vol. I. pp. 86 — 87. 

" There are two poems kept in remembrance among the modern Jews, 
and printed at the end of their book of Passover services in Hebrew and 
English. One is that known as Chad gadyd : it begins, ' A kid, a kid, my 
father bought for two pieces of money ' ; and it goes on to tell how a cat 
came and ate the kid, and a dog came and bit the cat, and so on to the 
end. — ' Then came the Holy One, blessed be He ! and slew the angel of 
death, who slew the butcher, who killed the ox, that drank the water, that 
quenched the fire, that burnt the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, 
that ate the kid, that my father bought for two pieces of money, a kid, a 
kid.' This composition is in the ' Sepher Haggadah,' and is looked on by 
some Jews as a parable concerning the past and future of the Holy Land. 
According to one interpretation, Palestine, the kid, is devoured by Babylon 
the cat; Babylon is overthrown by Persia, Persia by Greece, Greece by 
Eome, till at last the Turks prevail in the land ; but the Edomites (i.e. 
the nations of Europe) shall drive out the Turks, the angel of death shall 
destroy the enemies of Israel, and his children shall be restored under the 
rule of Messiah. Irrespectively of any such particular interpretation, the 
solemnity of the ending may incline us to think that we really have the 
composition here in something like its first form, and that it was written 
to convey a mystic meaning. If so, then it follows that our familiar 

1 The Book of Days, vol. i. p. 332. 

2 Contes Populaires Grecs, edited by J. Pio, Copenhagen, 1879. 

3 Ralston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 353. 

Mystic Poems 323 

nursery tale of the old woman who couldn't get her kid (or pig) over the 
stile, and wouldn't get home till midnight, must be considered a broken- 
down adaptation of this old Jewish poem. 

The other composition is a counting-poem, and begins thus : 

' Who knoweth one ? I (saith Israel) know One : 
One is God, who is over heaven and earth. 

Who knoweth two 1 I (saith Israel) know two : 
Two tables of the covenant ; but One is our God 

Who is over the heavens and the earth.' 

(And so forth, accumulating up to the last verse, which is — ) 

i Who knoweth thirteen ? I (saith Israel) know thirteen : Thirteen 
divine attributes, twelve tribes, eleven stars, ten commandments, nine 
months preceding childbirth, eight days preceding circumcision, seven 
days of the week, six books of the Mishnah, five books of the Law, four 
matrons, three patriarchs, two tables of the covenant ; but One is our God 
who is over the heavens and the earth.' 

This is one of a family of counting-poems, apparently held in much 
favour in mediaeval Christian times ; for they are not yet quite forgotten 
in country places. An old Latin version runs : ' Unus est Deus,' etc., and 
one of the still-surviving English forms begins, ' One's One all alone, and 
evermore shall be so,' thence reckoning on as far as ' Twelve, the twelve 
apostles.' Here both the Jewish and Christian forms are or have been 
serious, so it is possible that the Jew may have imitated the Christian, 
but the nobler form of the Hebrew poem here again gives it a claim to be 
thought the earlier." 1 

The pieces given below are some of the Macedonian parallels 
to the compositions discussed in the foregoing paragraph. 

1 Mendes, Service for the First Nights of Passover, London, 1862 (in the 
Jewish interpretation, the word shunra, — 'cat,' is compared with Shinar)*. 
Halliwell, Nursery Rhymes, p. 288; Popular Rhymes, p. 6. 


324 Macedonian Folklore 


1. (From Salonica.) 
Ufjyes '? to Kvvrjyt; 

2,k6t(o<t€$ Xayo; 


Top fiayecpeyfre^ ; 

Top fiayelpe^a. 

"E<£ae<? ; 

v E<£aa. 

Me fcpdrrjo-es fcal fieva; 

2e Kparrfaa. 

Uov V T09; 


Kpi/c, KpaK — eairacre to kXclSL 

Uov V o \a709 ; 

l op €<pae r) yaTa. 

Uov p rj yaTa; 

'£ Ta KOKKipa to, KepapiSia. 

Uov v Ta KOKKipa Ta /cepafiihia ; 

Uov V TO KOKKLPO TO ^oofxa; 
A TO irOTCLfJil. 

Uov V to TTOTa/nc; 

To pov(f>t^€ rj dyeXdSa. 

Uov V rj dyeXdha; 

Lrjp ecrcpai; yaaaivr)^. 

Uov V o ya<Tamr\^; 


Updcra, yepeia teal /u,ovo~TaKLa. 

2. (From Vassilika.) 
*Hrai> fjbid /jb7rd/ji7rov s nrdet '? ttj Koirpcd, 

JSpiaKec fita KOptd. 
Udeu \ to T%op/jL7raT%r]' 
" T£op/JL7raT%r] fju\ So fi epa T^opfnra, 
Na /3pe£a> ttj Koptd y 
Na Spoaiaco ttj Kaphud" 

Mystic Poems 325 

1. The Hare. 

(Played between the nurse and the child.) 

Hast thou been shooting? 

I have. 

Hast thou killed a hare 1 ? 

I have. 

Hast thou cooked it ? 

I have. 

Hast thou eaten ? 

I have. 

Hast thou kept a portion for me? 

I have. 

Where is it ? 

In the cupboard. 
(Here the child is made to hold its fists tightly clenched one over the 
other so as to represent a cupboard, while the nurse tries to open them 
with her forefinger and thumb.) 

Crick, crack — the key's broken. 

Where is the hare ? 

The cat has eaten it. 

Where is the cat ? 

On the red tiles. 

Where are the red tiles? 

In the red earth. 

Where is the red earth. 

In the river. 

Where is the river? 

The cow has swallowed it up. 

Where is the cow ? 

The butcher has slaughtered her. 

Where is the butcher? 

He is dead. 

Leeks, beards and moustaches ! 
— and the nurse proceeds to tickle the child under the chin and make it 

2. The Old Woman. 

There was an old woman. She went to a dung-hill, 

She found a crumb of bread. 
She goes to the soup-maker: 
"O Soup-maker, give me some soup, 
That 1 may moisten my crumb, 
That I may refresh my heart." 

326 Macedonian Folklore 

f O T^op/jLTrar^rj^ yvpeyfre T^avd/ct. 

Udet '<? to r^avaKT^f]' 

" T^avaKT^i] fi\ eva r^ava/ei, 

Na irdw tov T^op/Jbirar^rj, 

Na fji€ Saxr* eva r^opfnra, 

Na /3pe%a> tt) Kopid, 

Na hpocri<T(o ttj /capSid.' 

c O T^avafCT^rjs yvpeyjre ^oo/na. 

Udet 9 t?) 7779* 
" P??9 /*»', eVa xw/uLdj 
Na 7rao) toO r^ava/cr^r), 
Na /eaV eW rfavdfci, 

r H 7779 yvpeyfre hpoaov. 

Udet 9 ra ovpdvta' 
" Ovpdvta ji, eva hpocro, 
Na Booaco rrj 7779, 
Na /xe SgJo-' ez/a ^oofjta, 

Ta ovpdvta yvpeijrav dv/xtd/jta. 

Udet '9 to irpa jiaTevTrj' 
" Tlpa > fiaT€VT7] fju\ eva Ovpadfxa, 
Na Ovfitariaco rd ovpdvta, 
Na Scocrovv Bpoo~o rrj 7^9, 

'O 7rpa fiarevrr}*; yvpeyfre <f>t\r)fjia. 

Udet '9 t?) Koprj' 
" KopTj fi, eva <f>t\r)/jLa, 
Na Sc»<ra> to irpa ^xarevrrf, 
Na /xe Sft)o-' eW Qvp^tdjxa, 

*H #6^77 yvpeyfre fcovrovpai?. 

Udet \ to fcovrovpr^r}' 
" ILovTovprtfl pb\ So fie icovrovpats, 
Na S(W0"G) t?) Koprj, 
Na /xe Sa)o-' ei>a <j>t\7jfia, 

Mystic Poems 327 

The soup-maker asked for a bowl. 

She goes to the bowl-maker : 
"0 Bowl-maker, give me a bowl, 
That I may take it to the soup-maker, 
That he may give me some soup, 
To moisten my crumb, 
To refresh my heart." 

The bowl-maker asked for earth. 

She goes to the earth : 

"O Earth, give me some earth, 

That I may take it to the bowl-maker, 

That he may make a bowl, etc." 

The earth asked for dew. 

She goes to the heavens. 

" Heavens, give me some dew, 

That I may take it to the earth, 

That she may give me some earth, etc." 

The Heavens asked for frankincense. 

She goes to the merchant: 

"0 merchant, give me some frankincense^ 

That I may fumigate the Heavens, 

That they may give some dew to the earth, etc." 

The merchant asked for a kiss. 

She goes to the maid: 

u maid, give me a kiss, 

That I may take it to the merchant, 

That he may give me some frankincense, etc' 

The maid asked for a pair of shoes. 

She goes to the shoe-maker : 

u shoe-maker, give me a pair of shoes, 

That she may give me a kiss, etc." 

328 Macedonian Folklore 

O KovTovpT%fj<; yvpetye fiecrivi. 

Tldei '? rrjv dyeXdSa* 
"'A^yeXaSa fi, eva /jieo-ivi, 

N« SftScr' TO KOVTOVpT^Tj, 

f H dyeXdha yvpeyfre ^oprdpi' 

Tldei 9 to /jLTrafCT&fiavT^r}* 

" M7raKT^€/3avr^rj /jl\ eva ^oprdpc, 

Na Sfti<r' rrjv dyeXdha, 

etc. etc. etc." 

The reciter here broke off out of breath and nothing would 
induce him to proceed. Nor did I insist, as from what he said 
I gathered that the everlasting cow had eaten up the grass and 
was, in her turn, eaten up by the butcher, who in his turn was 
eaten up by Death, and so the song came to a natural end. 


The following two poems are taken from Gousios' Songs of 
my Fatherland, Nos. 104 and 105. 

1. Ol Se/ca dpidfioL 
"Eva Xoyo 6e)C vd ttm' 

Avo Xoyia 0eX' vd irw* 

Tpla Xoyia OehJ vd woo' 

" f/ Ei/a9 fjuovos Kvpios" 

'AvVfJLVOVfJL€V, 8o%o\oyOVfl€V, Kvpt€. 

" Aeirre/o' elv* rj Tiavayid, 

* r "XT / )) 

eva? /jlovos is.vpio<;. 
'Avv/jLvov/Jiev etc. 

" Tpio~v7r6crTaTO<; @eo9, 
Aevrep' elv rj Tiavayid, 
eva? fiovo? Kvpios." 
\\vv/JbvovfjL€v etc. 

Tiaaapa Xoyia 0eX! vd ttco* 

" Tecrcrapes ^ayyeXiaraiy 
TpiaviroaraTos ©eos, 
'Avvfivovfiev etc. 

Mystic Poems 329 

The shoe-maker asked for leather. 

She goes to the cow: 

"0 cow, give me some leather, 

That I may take it to the shoe-maker, etc." 

The cow asked for grass. 

She goes to the gardener: 

"0 gardener, give me some grass, 

That I may take it to the cow, etc." 

For other songs of the type of " the house that Jack built " 
see Passow Nos. 273 — 275; A. A. Tovcrlov, 'Ta TpayovSia rrjq 
UarpiBo^ fiov' No. 102. This last and Passow No. 274 are 
very close parallels to the Hebrew Chad gadyd, mentioned by 
Mr Tylor. 

1. The Ten Numbers. 
I wish to say one : 

I wish to say two : 

I .wish to say three : 

I wish to say four : 

"One only Lord." 
We praise Thee, we glorify Thee, Lord ! 

" Second is the Holy Virgin, 
One only Lord." 
We praise Thee, etc. 

"Three are the persons of the Trinity, 
Second is the Holy Virgin, 
One only Lord." 
We praise Thee, etc. 

"Four are the Evangelists, 

We praise Thee, etc. 

330 Macedonian Folklore 

TLevre Xoyia 0eV va ttw* 

" TLevre irapOevcov yppoi, 
Tecraapes BayyeXiarai, 
WvvfAvov/jL€v etc. 

f/ E£?7 Xoyia 0e\' va nra)' 

" 'JLj-aTTrepvya ©eoi), 
Tlevre irap6ev(av %opol, 
1 Avvp,vovfjL€v etc. 

'E^ra Xoyia 6&C va 7ra5* 

" E<^)Ta darepes r ovpavov t 
^Y^airrkpvya ®eov, 
'Avvfivovfiev etc. 

'O^tco Xoyia 6e)C va wA' 

" 'O^rcb ^7%ot tydXXovrai, 
f E^>Ta aarepes r ovpavov, 
9 Aw fjivovfiev etc. 

'E^i/ea Xoyia OeX* va tt(o' 

" 'Fivved ayyeXcov rdyfiara, 
'O^to) *7%<h yfrdXXovrac, 
WvvfAvovfiev etc. 

Ae/ca Xoyia 0eX* va 7nw, 
Kal z/a CTGHTGO rbv a/coiro* 

" Aetca Vat 17 ez>To\a£9, 
'Ei/j/ea ayyeXcov rdyfiara, • 
' Aw fivov/juev, etc. 

2. Ot ScoBe/ca dpidfioL 

r/ Ei/a, /jucope, eva. "A? ro 7rovfie tva* 

" r 'Eva rb ttovXovBi, rb ^eXiSovovBi irov XaXel rb /3pd8v, 
AaXei ica\ tcvpXaXei" 

I wish to say five : 

Mystic Poems 

"Five are the choirs of virgins, 
Four are the Evangelists, 
We praise Thee, etc. 


I wish to say six : 

"Six- winged are the angels of God, 
Five are the choirs of virgins, 
We praise Thee, etc. 

I wish to say seven : 

" Seven are the stars of heaven, 
Six- winged are the angels of God, 
We praise Thee, etc. 

I wish to say eight : 

"Eight tunes are sung at church, 
Seven are the stars of heaven, 
We praise Thee, etc. 

I wish to say nine : 

"Nine are the legions of the angels, 
Eight tunes are sung at church, 
We praise Thee, etc. 

I wish ten to say, 
And conclude my lay : 

"Ten are the Commandments, 
Nine are the legions of the angels, 
We praise Thee, etc. 

2. The Twelve Numbers. 

" One is the little bird, the little swallow that sings in the evening, 
Sings and warbles." 

332 Macedonian Folklore 

"A 9 to irovfie eva. Na irajie teal \ ra Bvo' 
" Avo irepBt/ce^ ypa/ufievais, 
r/ Etva to irouXovSt etc." 

"A 9 to 7Tov/ul€ Bvo. Na irdfie /cal '9 Tfl Tpia' 

" Tpia iroBia 'XeTpoTroSea, Bvo irepBc/ces; ypa/jL/Aevats, 
"Etva to ttovXovSc etc." 

1 A? to irovjjbe Tpia. Na irdpue /cal \ tcl Teo~o~r)pa ' 

"Tio-arjpa y8f£ta '7eA,aSa9, To/a 7r©<$£a 'XeTpoiroBta, 
Avo TrepBi/ces ypafjL/jbevai? etc." 

"A? to irovfie Teaarjpa. Na irajjue /cal '9 tcl irevTe* 

"TlevTe Bd^TvXa '9 "to %e/ot, Teaarjpa /3v%ta '<ye\a8a9, 
T/na iroBta '\€Tpo7r68ia etc/' 

"A 9 TO 7T0Vfl€ 7T€VT€. Na 7TayLfc6 ffat *9 Ta 6^* 

" f 'E£?7 flf)V€$ /JLlO~0<Z ^pOl/09, 7T€VT€ Bd^TvXa \ TO yept, 

Tecarjpa fiv&d 'yeXdBa? etc." 

V A9 to irovfxe €%r). Na irdfxe /cal \ Ta e(f>Ta* 

" c Fi<j)Ta i(f>Td/coiXo to /cXfj/ma, €^tj fif)v€<; /ua-09 %/ooVo9, 
HevT€ BdyrvXa '9 to y&pi etc." 

5 A9 to 7T0V/U, €<f>Ta. Na 7ra/j,€ ical \ to, o^tco* 

" 'O^Ta7roS6 toi) OaXaaaoVj e<pTa e(f>TdfcotXo to /cXrjfia, 
r/1 &f;r) fiyves /ucro9 xpovo? etc." 

*A9 to Trovfjb byrd). Na wa/xe /cat '9 to ivved* 

"'Ez/i/ea fJirjve^ elvat to TratBi, oyrairoBt tov OaXaaaov, 
r E<f>Ta i(j>Td/cotXo to /cXrjfjta etc." 

V A9 to 7rodfi ivved. Na irap,e /cat \ Ta Be/ca* 

" Ae/capi&t to %otptBt, ivved prjves elvat to iratBi, 
'OyrairoBt toi5 OaXdcaov etc." 

"A 9 to irovfie Be/ca. Na irdfie /cat '9 Ta evTe/ca* 
" r/ EvT€/ca /jbTjvco cf>opdBt t Be/capi^et to %otpt8t, 
Eivvea fiifjves elvat to iratBi etc." 

"A 9 to Trovfie evre/ca. Na ira/ne /cal \ Ta BcoBe/ca* 
" AoaSe/ca p^vw 6 ^po'1/09, evre/ca purjveit) <j>opdBt, 
Ae/capi^et to ^oto/Sf. etc." 

Mystic Poems 333 

Let us call it one. Let us go to the two : 

"Two striped partridges, one is the little bird etc." 

Let us call it two. Let us go to the three : 

"Three are the feet of the plough, two striped partridges, 
One is the little bird etc/ 5 

Let us call it three. Let us go to the four : 

" Four are the teats on a cow's udder, three the feet of the plough, 
Two striped partridges etc." 

Let us call it four. Let us go to the five : 

"Five are the fingers of the hand, four the teats on a cow's udder, 
Three the feet of the plough etc." 

Let us call it five. Let us go to the six : 

" Six months make half-a-year, five are the fingers of the hands, 
Four the teats on a cow's udder etc." 

Let us call it six. Let us go to the seven : 

"Seven bushels bears the vine, six months make half-a-year, 
Five are the fingers of the hand etc." 

Let us call it seven. Let us go to the eight : 

"Eight arms has the cuttle-fish, seven bushels bears the vine, 
Six months make half-a-year etc." 

Let us call it eight. Let us go to the nine : 

" Nine months is the child in the womb, eight arms has the cuttle-fish, 
Seven bushels bears the vine etc." 

Let us call it nine. Let us go to the ten : 

" Ten months the young pig, 1 nine months is the child in the womb, 
Eight arms has the cuttle-fish etc." 

Let us call it ten. Let us go to the eleven : 

"Eleven months the foal, ten months the young pig, 
Nine months is the child in the womb etc." 

Let us call it eleven. Let us go to the twelve : 

"Twelve months has the year, eleven months the foal, 
Ten months the young pig etc." 

1 I am not at all certain of the correctness of my translation of this line. 
Gousios spells x et P^ l > which means nothing; x €L P^ a > "the handle of the 

j/xv/Ligxx, xxxu-u.^ x. — ~ „ , „ 

been suggested to me that x 6l P^ L might mean ' hand ' and deicapifa that the 
hands have 'ten roots (fingers).' The suggestion is certainly ingenious; but, 
I fear, hardly borne out by the Greek as it stands. 


AecavorpdyovBa. 1 

[The majority of the following couplets were collected at 
Salonica, those that I picked up in other parts of Macedonia 
are specially indicated.] 

* Ay dirrjv ziya k eyacra air rr) fcafcoyvwficd fxov. 
Toopa rr) tyXe7rco '9 aWov€ teal icaier rj fcapBid jjlov. 


^Aydirrj fiov yjpvcf ovofJLa, rrjs yeLTOvetas KOpoova^ 
A09 He to BayrvXiSc gov vd tedvovfi dppaftwva. 


AyaTrrjaa, ri /eepBe^fra; rfjs yr}$ rrjv oyjrt, Trrjpa, 
Tov kogjaov rats tcaTaicpi<jial<$ o\ac<z iya> rats Trrjpa. 2 


^ Ay dir^a a > tl tcepBeyfra ; rrjs yrj<; rrjv o^ri Trrjpa, 

Tov Koa/xov rals Karafypovials, zeal ivahi Be ere irrjpa. 


Ayairrjaa tc iyeb 'p<f>avr)<; eva KOfjufidri Xibvi, 
K €K€lvo to ^ovXeyjrave ol airovoi yeiTOvoi. 

1 At Nigrita these distichs are called Galates (raXdrats), a word of (to me) 
unknown affinities. 

2 Cp. Passow, Disticha Amatoria, No. 8. 

Love-Couplets 335 


I had a ladylove and lost her through my folly. 

Now I see her in another's arms, and my heart is consumed with grief. 

my love, name of gold, crown of the neighbourhood ! 
Give me thy ring that we may be betrothed. 


1 have fallen Jn love. What have I gained ? I have assumed the hue 

of the earth, 
And the blame of the world is all mine. 


I have fallen in love. What have I gained ? I have earned the hue 

of the earth, 
And the contempt of the world, and yet thee have I earned not. 

I, poor orphan, am in love with a snow-flake ; 
Even that the cruel neighbours envy me. 

336 Macedonian Folklore 

'AWol/jlovo tl 6 a yevfj to iSc/co fia$ %aX^ ; 
Al^co? irapd, 6Y^g>9 SovXecd ktj dydirrj \ to /cecj>dXc ! 

Avddefia ttj Tz5%t? fiov kclI ttj iccucid ttjv wpa, 
Tlov cr eihav ra fiardicia fiov, teal ti vd tcdvco Toopa; 

*Az> Sdxrco /cat ae 0v/j,7)6a> dirdvw '9 rrj BovXecd fiov t 
To fieXovd/ct ttov /3acrT& to fi7rrjy(0 '? ttj /capBtd fiov. 

(From Melenih.) 
*Avoi%e, 7^79, fieaa vd fiTrcb, KaX y&fia,) aKeiraae /jlc, 
Yid vd yXvTcoa diro aefivTa icai irdXi eftyaXe fie. 


'A7TO TTJ TTOpTd GOV TTepVO) Kdh /3pL(T/CG) fcXei8(t)fl€Va. 

SfCv<f>Tco (f)tXci) ttj tcXeiScovid, Oappco <j)tX(o ecreva. 


(From Zichna) 

"Acr7rp7} etaac adv to %iovl, ^ofCfcivrj o~dv ttj (j)a)Tcd, 

Xdv tcl fidpfiapd T$f} II0X779 irovvai \ ttjv * Ay id %o(f>id. 

v A<£>e? fie fxrj fie ireipdtys, cityes fie \ to %aXt fiov, 

2u fie 7T^p69 KaX TOV VOX) flOV Vo flko" V TO K€(f)dX(, fiov, 

Ycd St69 ifcecvo to /3ovv6, ttov avcutye ical icaiyei, 
KaTTTrotos dyd r rrrj h^aae teal tcddeTat /cat fcXatyec. 


(From Melenik.) 
'E7<w (jeftvTa hev rj%epa> ovS* d/covarTa top el^a. 
Tdopa fie TrepucvteXtoaev dirb /cop<prj '9 rd vy^a- 

Love-Couplets 337 

Alas ! how will this state of ours end ? 
No money, no work and love to boot ! 

Accursed be my fortune, and the evil hour 

In which my eyes beheld thee. Now what am I to do? 

If ever I chance to think of thee while at work, 

The needle which I hold in my hand I plunge it into my heart. 1 


Open, O earth, that I may enter, and thou, dust, cover me up, 
That I may be cured of my passion. Then let me out again. 


I pass by thy door and find it locked, 

I stoop and kiss the lock, and pretend to be kissing thee. 


Thou art white as snow, ruddy as the fire, 

Tall and slim like the columns of St Sophia in Constantinople. 


Leave me alone and tease me not. Leave me alone in my misery : 
J Tis thou who hast taken away even my senses from my head. 


Behold yon mountain which is kindled and aflame ! 
Perhaps some wretch is bewailing his lost love. 


Once I knew nothing of passion, not even its name. 
But now it has compassed me from head to foot ! 

1 This, among several other distichs, was dictated to me by a gifted young 
tailor, and a great gallant, of Salonica. This one was perhaps a product of his 
own genius. 

A. F. 22 

338 Macedonian Folklore 


{From Zichna.) 
TLocrai irairia, elaac xV va f € ^ dyyeXiKO Koppul, 
'E^e^ jJLaria crdv tov rjXto, irpoacoiro aav ytacre/uL 

(From Kataphyghi.) 
'EiK€p8r]o-d rrjv ttj yapd Kal rrjv dydirr) TroS^a, 
Kal (j>aLP€rai fi€ 7rw? <j)opco tov ftaaiXTjd rd pov^a. 

'Ecru Vai to (TTa<f>v\i Kal yco to radfiTrovpo, 
<£>iXa /jl€ av '9 r d^elXt i Kal yoo '9 to fidyovXo. 

'Ecru *cai kglvo to ttovXI irov to Xeyovv Kavdpi, 
Jlovv Ta (f>T€pd tov KtTpiva Kal 77 fcapScd tov fiavprj. 1 

Ka/oa/?6 TpiotcaTapTo, Tpepueis vd nrdprj^ /3o\Ta, 
Tpefiec Kal r] KaphovXd puov ovtcl? ere 81,(0 '9 ttj iropTa. 

Y^vTcapiaGaKi pbov tyrjXoy \ ttj pi^a e%€£9 %&J/^<z, 
K i<yco pLKpbs Kal av puiKp-q, Kaipo? puas Se' v dfco/ma. 


NT€pTl Kal TTOVO? p€ KpaT€L, KOVT€V(D vd 7TO0dvG), 

'2 tov irovo fipiaKG) ytaTpeid, \ to VTepTi tl vd Kava) ; 

f O epcoTas tov dOpcoTro 7TW9 tov KaTao-Tcfid^eL' 
J^oppbl crdv TptavTacfryXXo to Kavei Kal yriKid^ei. 

f OX-09 o /C0V//-09 Krj 6 VTOvvids Ta £e<f)Kia Kavovv ydfy, 
Kal rj 8iktj piov r) KapSid KXaiyet ktj dvacrTevd^ei. 

1 Cp. Passow, No. 361, a slightly different version given as a dirge (Mvpo\6yt.), 
rather improbably. 

Love-Couplets 339 


You are a duck, you are a goose, 1 you have the figure of an angel. 
You have eyes like the sun, a face like jasmine. 


I have won the joy and the love that I courted, 

And it seems to me that I am now arrayed in a king's robes. 


Thou art the grape and I am the stalk : 

Kiss me on the lips, and I will kiss thee on the cheek ! 


Thou art the bird which men call canary, 

Whose feathers are golden, but whose heart is black. 


three-masted galley, thou art trembling to veer round, 

Even so trembles my poor heart when I behold thee standing at thy door. 


dear slender cypress, there is still earth about thy roots. 
Both thou and I are too young, our season has not come yet. 


Love and pain hold me fast, I am at the point of death. 
Against pain I can find a remedy, against love what can I do? 

22. * 

Look how love wears out a man ! 

A body that is blooming like a rose, decays and dies ! 


All the people, the whole world, enjoys feasting ; 
But my own heart can only weep and sigh. 

1 This word is never used in modern Greek as a term of ridicule. Here it 
refers to the bird's beauty and grace, without any allusion to its supposed 
intellectual poverty. 


340 Macedonian Folklore 


"Ottcho? OeXec v a<yairr)ar}j 
Ylpeirei vd ^aaro/xeprjarj. 
TlpeTrei aairpa vd %o8ido-7j 
Kat vd fxrjv ra Xoyapidar). 


(From Serves.) 
2ai> irepSifca irepLirareh, adv ^eXiBovL Tpe^et?, 
Xapa '? rrjv ifiop(j>dSa aou /cat ralpt va purjv exV* - 


2<x*> reOoia rkdoia \dyava, adv redoiais irLKpaXrjdpais 
^Ep^ft) k iyob '? tov Krjiro fiov aapdvra irevre pi^ai?. 


(From Kataphyghi.) 

Xav reroiat^ Teroiais peiravais /cat T€TOtat<; peiravlhes 
v E^o) k iy(b \ rbv Kr\iro /uov Se/ca %tXid8es pleats. 


(From Nigrita.) 

'2 tov Kopmo y \ tt) pitja, /cofiovv ttjv iXyd, 

'2 Ta fjiaTia, '<? Ta (f>pv8ca <f)i\ovv ttj tcoireWid. 1 


Ta fiaTca a zyow epcora teal fieara ^v^(a\i^ovv, 
K# dirdvco '<? to ^i^akia p,a cftpeydSes dpfievi^ovv. 


Ta irdkaid p,a<z ffderava irepdaave koX irave. 
Ta Tcopivd ryevtf/cave (f>e(,8ia ytd vd /za<? <j>dve. 


Tt vd crov ttco ; tl vd fiov irrjs ; iai) fcaXa yvcdpi,%€L<;, 
Kal Tr) ^frv^T] /jl /cat Trj /capSid /jl iav /ie ttjv opi^eis. 

1 The metre is somewhat lame — there is one syllable more than should be in 
the second verse — but the peasants are not over-fastidious. 

Love-Couplets 341 


He who will court a maiden fair, 
Must needs waste much time. 
He must needs spend many piastres too, 
And count them not. 1 


Thy walk is like the walk of the partridge, thy run is like the flight of the 

Great is thy beauty, and yet thou hast no mate ! 


Oh, of cabbages and radishes of this sort, 
I have forty-five roots in my kitchen-garden. 


Oh, of radishes and horse-radishes of this sort 
I have ten thousand roots in my kitchen-garden. 


The olive is plucked at the joint, at the root : 

The maid is kissed in the eyes, between the eye-brows. 


Thy eyes are brimming with love and are moist with dew, 
And on the bosom of the dew frigates are sailing. 


Our old troubles are past and gone. 

Our present ones have grown into serpents and will devour us. 


What need of words? thou art well aware 

That both my heart and my soul are thine to command. 

1 The young tailor often complained to me, with a comical sigh, that his 
heart had well-nigh ruined him. 

342 Macedonian Folklore 


To dy^ ! Be rdi^epa 7TOTe? vd to (jxovdga). 
Too pa Bev direpva o~Tifir) va firjv dvacTevd^o). 


To fjLTro'i <r elvac /J,ivapes } rd %epia aov XafnrdBes, 
To (tttjOos aov TrapaBeiaos, fnra^rae^ fie iranvdhes. 


To vrepTt tcov iraXk7]KapL0)v y XVP ai ^ T0 yvcopL^ow 
Kal rd $iaj3o\o/c6piTQ-a tcpv<f>d to fiovpfiovpv^ovv. 


<&evy€L<; koI <f>evy y\ yvco/ir] /jlov. Hov 7ra? Traprjyopcd fiov ; 
Uov 7ra9 feXeiBl tov ' poXoyeiov, tt dvolyeis ttj icapBid jjlov ; 


<&£)C ol 6%Tpol yevrficave tcai oi St/cot /jlov jfivot, 
K' f\ fidva ttov fie yevvae Be 0e\ei vd fie l~€pr]. 


<Pvye 7ro fieva, avXKoyrj ! <j>v<ye iro fieva, iriKpa ! 
Ae' ae aTe^avcodrj/ca vd a €%(*> fiepa vvyra ! 

"OvTa? Hi vow. 


f O vttvos 0pe<j>eL to iratBL, 6 tjXlos to fioaydpi, 
Kal to ttoXtjo Kpaal tcdvei tov yepo TraXkrjfcdpi. 


Xapd *? top ttov to Trivet, 
Xapd '? tov ttov icepva, 
X.apd \ ttj Kopnravia 
Kal '9 oh! ttj GWTpofyid. 

Love-Couplets 343 


Time was when I knew not how to cry Ah me ! 

Now hardly a minute passes without my heaving a sigh. 


Thy body is a minaret, thy hands a pair of tapers, 
Thy bosom a park : a garden alive with songs of love. 


The youths' passion is well-known to the widows, 

And the sly maidens whisper of it secretly amongst themselves. 


Thou departest, and my senses depart with thee. Whither away, my 

comfort ? 
Whither art thou going, key of gold which openest my heart ? 


My foes have become my friends. Yet mine own kindred are estranged 

from me. 
The very mother who bore me will no longer know me ! 


Away from me, Sorrow ! Grief begone ! 

I have not wedded thee, that thou shouldst abide with me day and night. 

Drinking rhymes. 


Sleep nourishes the child, and the sun the calf, 
And old wine makes the old young. 


Joy to him who drinks it, 

.Trw +o Vnm wVm nnnwa it. rmf. 

Joy to the party, 

And all the good company ! 

344 Macedonian Folklore 


7779 yvpaace?. 

c O ®eo5 top avrpa eifkaae p,€ Scafiavrivca irerpa 
K.r) orav €<f>Ktav tt) yvpal/ca iirTjpe p,t,d irekeica. 1 

"Ottolo? e% xafcr) yvpaliea '? top peicpo Se' irpkir pa Tray 

lOP P€fCp0 TOP €% 5 TO GTTITL T. 

H yvpaliea e2z>' d/eoWa \\ zeal ^aXeuet airo o\a. 

f H yvpaliea fiaiepvd fiaWta /ecu ypcofirj fcoprrj. 

Tpapd (xaWtdy || koptcl fivaXd. 2 

1 This distich I heard at Serres, but it is not of Macedonian origin. My 
informant was a Cretan Mohammedan — one of those who on the declaration 
of Cretan autonomy preferred exile to peaceful existence with the despised 

2 A. A. Yova-ioVy 4< H Kara to Hayyaiov Xc&pa,' p. 89. Cp. fiirdX rpavb ical 
/jLva\& Xiya, ibid. 

Love-Couplets 345 

Greek folk-opinion on the fair sex. 

When God created man, he used a diamond-drill ; 
When he created woman, he used a pickaxe. 

He who has a bad wife need not go to the funeral : 
The funeral is in his own home. 

Woman is like paste : she sticks to everything. 

Woman : long hair, short wits. 1 

1 The same proverb, word for word, is common both among the Russians 
and the Tartars: see Ralston, Russian Folk-Tales, p. 38. 


To tt&p&myBi toy NaTntic. 1 

Mia /3oXa k evav Kaupb ijrav cvas d#pto7ros 7roXv 7rA.01xn.os. Ei^€ 
o"7rtrta, ctSto"/xara, dpvtd, /caTO"t/aa /cat tx 8cv €*X € > < * 7ro °^* a T * Ka ^ tov 

KOO-fAOV, S TO 0"7TfcT6 T CDS K Ot TTCTCtVOt yZWOVCTCW avyd 7TOV Acct KtJ 6 AdyOS. 

Ma tl ra #es; rjrav o-<£ixtos, T^cy/ccvcs. Avtos 6 d#pa)7ros cti^c vdpOrj crc 
p.ta 7roA.iT€ta fAeydXrj, crav vd Ac/ac 's tt) SaAovt/07, /cat ytd vd /x/))v 
ioSetaaTrj 8c' OiXae va Kov€\j/rj *s r^ Ao/cdvTa, /at/tc 7rdr]<r€ ere. Kaviva 
Tpavov t dpxovTi/co, ytd va p/^v Xd)Qj kt) iro^pewOfj. Mdvo Kovtipe *s cva 
<f>TU))(ov rrj /caAv/3a, icaA^ topa o-dv r^ #/ciy /xas. To o-7rtV ^rav p.ovd;(a 
cvas (Was Tpavds /c^ 6 8ofaTos /cat tov e/3aXav va KOifJurjOfj o~€ fjua ywvtd, 
6 8oi)Ads r a.7r6pi€LV€ o$ov 's tt)v avXrj dvrdfxa pik tcl irpapLara. Tov 

<l>T<l))(OV 7] yVVCLLKVL cT^C X€VT€p(i)6f) 8(0 KOU TpCtS p,€patS, ycWc CVa 7Tat8t 

7rovTav Tptoo /Acpcu ovTas ">7/o^€ avrds 6 7rAoi;o-ios. Era-t 7toO Acs, TrAdytacrav 

TO /SpdSv, 6 fAOVO-0L<f)ipY)S 0~€ /JLLOL KO)(7] K 1] Xe^OVOra p,l TOV OLVTpa t's 's TTjV 

aXXrj. Avtol tows wrjpt v7rvos ayXyyopa /cat KOtpLOvvTav pna \apd, ytar' 
oi <j>Tw\ol y/ca-tyAcScs 8ev e^ovv. Ma 6 7rAovartos 8c* tov cVatpvc vttvo% 
yvpvovcre dirro ttj p,ia p-cpta, yvpvovcc 7ro ttjv aXXrt /cat crvAAoytotWav fat 
Aoy dp ta£c to /3td tov. 

Ret ttov o-vAAoytowTav d£a<£va yA€7rct kt) dvoty rj iropTa kol orifiicav 
fxeaa T/oets ywatKCs VTvp.kvai% \ r do-7rpa. e H /xta ^Tav 7rc<o ^^A^ /cat 
Trcto ep.op<fyr} 7r6 t\ aAAats. Hrav 7J Tpets Motpats irov jU,otpd£ow to 
7rat8t t>} TptViy jacpa wTcpts d<f>ov ytvOf). ^Etoti 7rov Acs, o-£f$Kav pueo-a \ 


ttJs Motpats to dyyt^c /xc to Sa'^TuAd t's /cat Acer "Tt vd to pLoipdarovpL*;" 
Acv ri aAAats* " Na to p,otpaaovp.c va yevrj KXrjpovopios s auTov tov 
irXovo~io ttov Vat 7rAaytao-)U€vos K€t 7rcpa 's t^ k oX0'" u Ta/xdyu,' ,, Aev tJ 
aAAats /cat to pioipao'av k vcrTCpts ytvtcav d^a^Tats. 

O 7rAovcrtds t' aKovo~€ avTa tol Adyta Kat Tpdp,a^c, kt) a7r' to <j>ofio r 
&€ p.iTopovcre va cr^aXi^r) p<aTt. Skoj^kc Kat Q-ovAaT^dpt^c irdvov KaTov 
s tov ovTa tos to 7rpa)t. A/>ia cc/>€^€ 6 6^cos t^v 77/xcpa Kat 0"\&OK€ 6 

</»Tri>VOC 7TO TO VtaTGL/Ct T*. TOTCS TOV AcCt 6 ^CVOS ' " 'EyO> <j>€Vy(ti 0"77/jt€ptS 

ytd to p(coptd' p.', 7rat8td ^Vd p.* 8cv c^co. *Av o-Tpey^s vd p.c 6c6o-^s to 

1 My raconteuse informed me that she heard this tale many years ago from 
a Eoumanian friend of hers (Ka/ja/SXdxa). According to her Naidis is the 
Wallachian for the Greek Etipeo-Tjjjud, "foundling." 

348 Macedonian Folklore 

O'ko <r to [JL<i)p6, y<o k y yvvcuKai p Od r dvaOpiif/ov/ne aav vavat 7rat8t 
/jtag. Sets ctore veoi, 7r/oa>Ta 6 0€os 0a kovtc ky) aAAa." 

Totcs 6 <^>ra)^os €Kpa£e t^ yvvawd t' va &$ Tt Aect Kat k€Lvyj. *H 
yuvatKa t' 7rp(oTa Skv rjOtXe, yiarl irota fxava Stvct to fxiKpo rs; jjlol wtcois 
air ra tto AAa, yta va jxrjv koxJ/ovv ty) tv^V tov iraihiov, Ae'et " KaAa' " k' 
loTpcf € va to Scucr' av /cat t' aya7row€ o-<h' 7ratSt t's 7rovTav. Totcs to 
/?v£a£e KaAa KaAa, ws 7roi> ^ooTacre yaAa, Tan/Tuo-e /x.€ to. 7rcto KaAAtrcpa 
pov^a 7rov)(€, to <J>l\o~€ o~Tavpo)Ta s to yAe<£apo ktj 6 7rAoixrtos to Trrjpe. 's 

TOL X*P La T > 0"eAA(OV* TT] CJ>Opd8a T KTj TOV f CTTpo/SoO^OaV KCU 7TCLCI 's TO 

icaAo //.a£v /x,€ to SorAo t\ 

OvTas fiyrJKav o^ov irb tyj 7roAtT€ta k €<j>Tao~av *s cva fxipos eprjfxo 
/xccra s Ta yevvrjpcaTa — rjTav KaAoKatpt — crTa^aaTact ttj <j>opdSa t koX Aect 
tov SovAo t u Ilaoe avrb to puopb /cat vd to o-kotcJotis /x€ /xta irtTpa" 'O 
SovAos t* *s ttjv apyr\ Sev tfOeXe vd to Kavrj, ytaTt ^Tav dOpuuro^ Oeocfro- 

/3oVfl€VO<S y flOL UO*T€ptS #eAoVTaS jUL^ 0£XoVTa<S TOV CLKOUO"€ TOV Ct^)€VT7/ T Kttt 
TO 7T^p€ TO fJOOpO. Ma aWlS VOL X rV7r V°"0 TO TTai&l ^TV7Ta€t T?) yT/S /X€ T?) 
7T€TOa Kat TO d<j>€VTLKO T Odpp€{//€ 7T(OS fidp€Cr€ TO TTatoY. ToTCS d£a<j)Va 

€Kav€ crav vactSe kottoiov tto paicpva, fxta icat 8uo TrAaAaet 's T* aAoyaTo, 
o-av vaTav Ta^aTes T/oo/xac/xevo?, ^77 a7ro SaJ 7rav /c' ot aAAot. ETO"t 7roi) 
Acs, to pboypb aTTopive Koipno-puivo pbia s t aora^va. 

Twpa v d<f>i]o-ovpi€ tov irAovcrio Kal va 7rtaVovju,€ to ffatSt. 1 Ta 
X<i)pa<£ia K€tva 7/Tav tto Iva TrAovoto T^KJiX-qKa. Avtos 6 7rAovctos Sev 
ct^e watSt ^ko t* Krj oXov 7T€pLKaXovo-av tov Oeb ktj avrbs k tj yvvatKa r 
va tovs Swcry €va iraiSL v H^eAav vavpovv fcaveva i^v^07rat8t pl7t£Xk€ Kat 
tov<s Xv7rr)6rj 6 #€os. Ketv?/ ttj f3pa$€ia erv)(<E va o"€oyiavt£?j avros 6 
7rAoi;o-tos 's Ta ^wpac^ta Kat aKOvo~€ to fuopb ir<Z>KXaiy€. Sto^kc Kat Xiei 
tto p,4o~a t " Tt vavat avTo; T^aKaAt 8ev Vat, ovcvAt 8cv Vat. *As 7raa> va 
8tc3." Kat iraatvovTas Kara ttj <j>o)vrj 7ro yaAta yaAta fiplo-Kti to /itwpo ktJ 
a/>t,a TwetSc ^€7raorTtK€. Ma yA€7rovTas a^To tocto €fiop<j>o Kat iraaTpiKO 
Kat 7ra^ovAo to At/A7rto"T7/K€ Kat to 7nJoe *s t^v ayKaAta t' Kat to irdrjo"€ *s 
tt; yvvatKa t'. " Ate Tt fiprJKa \ to yu»pd<^i, yuvatKa," t-i) Acct, " e/n€ts 
?rat8t yvpevapi€ Krj 6 ^eos 7ratSt /xas eoTctAe." *H yvvatKa t' Se' tov 

7Tt0rT€l^6 ** Y AlVT€ TTO ScO, 7TOtOS ^€pct 0"V fJL€ TTOld TCUKaVCS aVTO TO 7TatSt, 

/xa as ctvat 8e* ft€ /xeAct, as to cfrvXaijovpie" 

To <j>vXa£av Kat Tucjyepav pud Ttapap.dva yta va to f3v£d£y ktj dp.a 
Tpdv€\f/€ to 07roi;Safav. Kat to 7rat8t 7rovrav o-wiko, wpOKOij/e Kat t's 
aya7row€ 7roAv, kij avTOt t ayaTroiJorav Kat TaJAcyav NatvTts, cav va Acftc 

1 This is a stock form of transition, as hackneyed in Modern Greek folk- 
tales as it is in similar compositions in other languages, Cp. the Italian 
"Lassamu a lu pappa gaddu e pigghiamu a lu cavaleri," Fiabe, novelle, e 
raconti siciliani, by J. Pitre, Palermo, 1875, vol. 1. p. 9. 

Appendix L 349 

Ev peo-rjfjuo. Twpa vapOovpe \ tov irXovato. Uepacrav yjpovia Kafnrocra kyj 
6 NatVrts yevKC 8eKa£, Se/cae^Ta xpovio. Tores fud pepa va crov k 
ep^eTat 's to x<*)ptb Ketvos o KaKos 6 7rXouo~tos, 6 T^eyKeves, 7ro{; 7rao~Kto"€ 
vd tov X^°"27> K ' * T<Tt Tu><j>€pe rj tv\yj va koltolXvo-y) s to crirtTt ttovtclv 6 
Na'ivris. v Akouo~€ 7toi) tov (£a>va£av NaivTts /cat TrapatjzvevTrjKe tie t* 
ovo/xa. Pouraet tt) yvvat/ca* "Ae" xte Acs, Kvpa, ytaTt tov <£a)va£Te eVcrt;" 
" To j/ /?yaXa/xe Na'tJ/Tt9 ytaTt, va ere 7ra> t^v dkrjO eia, 8ev etvat yvto's /xa?, 
tov (3p7}K€ 6 dvTpas fiov \ to ^w/oa^t, /xeV s Ta yewy/iara 8(3 /cat 
ScKaec^Ta ^povta. Met? aXXa 7ratSta Sev et^a/Ae k ero-t tov ava0pe^a/xe 
Kai tov dya.7rovfJL€ o~dv irat&i jutas, Kai Ketvos /txas aya7raet ttoXu'." 

'AjcovovTas avTa 6 7rXouo"tos 7TtKpa0Ke Kara/caoSa ytaTt KaTaXa/?e 7ra>s 
^Tav rd 7rat8t 7roi) Trpoara^e tov 8ovXo tov va to )(aXdcrrj. Tiopa tl va 
Kavy; cruXXoyteVat 7ro 8<o o-uXXoyteVat tto Ket. '2 Ta vareptva tov rjpde 
fjud vevcrrj. Tvpi&t, Kat Xeet 7rws e^et va o~T€i\r] /xta ypacj>rj \ to x^pto r 
Kat 0e'Xet Iva /x7rto-T€/xevo dOpoiiro vd tyjv 7raYj, 

" M7ra, va aret'Xov/xe tov NatvTts," tov Xev. 

*ETOt/xao-av rov NatvTts /xta irovyaTO-a Kat <f>aytd } Kat o-eXXo>cr€ t* 
aXoyaTo' t' yta va irdrj. *0 7rXowtos tov e8a)K€ xua ypacf>Yj yta tt) 
yvvouKa r Kai tyjv eXeye /xeo~a s ny ypa<f)Yj avTT] va tov crreiXy a7rdvov 
\ Ta fiovvd 7rov efioaKav Ta wpofiaTa t koi va TrapayyttXr) tovs Tcro/x7ra- 
vapeovs vd tov Ko/x/xaTtao-ovv Kat va tov yKpYj^iviaovv /xeVa 's eva iryjydhi. 
'O Natvrts iT7Jp€ Trj ypacfrrj St^tos Kajxfjbtd 7roj^ta, Ka^aXXtKei/^e Kat Ktvqo-e 
va Trdrj. TLp\v va Ktvrycr^ 77 yuava tov tov opfJLr}V€ij/e va jjlyjv Xd\rj Kat 7rtiJ 
vepo a7roo*Ta/>tevos, k' vo-Tepts tov <f>Lkr)o~e Kat tov et^e to KaTevoSto. 

'2 tov 6p6(x,o irov Traatve <f>Tav€i o-e /xta /3pvo"q a7ro kotow 7ra>va S4vTpo 
Kat fcKa^aXXtKei/^e yta va ^a7roo~Taar) ^t^a k vo-Tepts va 7rti7 vepo, Kara 
7T(3s tov 6pfjL7]veij/€ ij fjidva t\ ytaT rJTav Sti^acr/xevos. Ket 7rov KaOovTav 
*S tov to-Kto va o-oi; Kat 7repvaet ei^a? yepog /xe /xaKpi;a ao-irpa yeveta Kat 
rov Xeer " IIov u>pa KaX-^, yvte /xov;" " Opa Kakyj, 7ra7T7roi}, 7raatvo> '5 to 
TaSe to ^cupto /xe /x/a ypacj>r] yta tov TaSe.' " Aocre /xov Tiy va r>7 8t(o 
avT?) t^ ypa^, ytaTt Oappoy 7ra>s rov fepo avrov tov dOpoiTro" To iratBi 
tov oYvet T^f ypa^rf, kyj 6 yepos 7repacr€ to X € /° l TOV 7r "° ndvov Kai ty\ yvpto~€ 
7rio-ov 9 k vo~T€pts irdrj *s tt) SovXeta r . 

Na /x-^v Ta 7roXi;XoyoiJxt€, avajSpaSa avdflpaba <f>Tav€t 6 NatvTts 's to 
o"7rtTt tot) 7rXovo-tov. Ket ttoi) ^e7T€^eve x T< *^ €t a^ft^ov 's to irapadvpt Kai 
yXe7ret eva Kopirart epLOp<f>o crdv to <f>eyyapt. A\f/€ o-/3vor* tov€ 
/xtpaKt. *HTav ij Kop^ to9 7rXovo-tov, ytaT 4 et^e 72^ \pijxaTa irws Sev et^e 

cnrtTi k r] ywdxKa tov 7rXovo"toi> tov Se^T^Ke KaTa ^cos e7rpe7T€. a KaXcus 
wpto-es n " KaXcus aas ^p^Katte," tt) 8tvet t^ ypacfrrj Kai Kcivrj ttj 8ta/?acre 
k' eypa<£e ttecra " Na irdprjS avrbv to veto Kat tt; KOp77 A 1019 Ka ^ va - K pd£rj<; 

350 Macedonian Folklore 

€va 7ra7ra koX vd tovs <TT€(f>av(Dcrr}<s r dyXrjyoptoTepo. *Eya> OapOw 's 6;(Ta> 
xiepais kolc irpkiru vd fipio to irpafia TcXctcoxceVo." 

"Ap.a Std^Sacrc rrj ypa<f>r) €Kav€ KCtVr? Kara 7ra>s rrjv 7rapdyyeXv€V 6 
avTpas t's, Kpd£et tov iraird Kal pad Kal Svo rovs o-T€c/>avoWt. w E/cavai> 
yd/xous, xapals p,e x°P ov ^ K<XL /** 7rat^r/tSta cos rd ^7jfX€pwfxara. 

Not fJL7]V Ttt 7ToAvXoyo{5/X€, t>0~T€ptS 7T O^TO) pipatS VOL CTOV k' €p\€Tai 

Tricrov 6 7rXov(rto9, Kal Kel irov ^€7ri^v€ 's tt) iropra o-kcjvzi rd xtdrta r 
Kal ri va oti} ! tt) Ovyaripa r ttov o~T€KovTav cnpxk 's tov NatvTts awdvov 
's rd /cdy/ccXXa. Tores tov r)p6z pad £d\y] o~dv rafiXds Kal 7T€<j>t€l 
\dp,ov. IlXaXovv, Kpdtpvv yiarpovs Kal u€ tol 7roXXd tov fyipvovv 's tov 
\0yapta07xd. "Tt €7ra^€s, dvTpa p.';" tov pwrdct tJ yvvalKa t\ ""As, 
TiTTOTes, diroo-raaa '5 tov Spopuo ki) 6 fjXios p.e /3ap€o~€ 's to Kcc/>aXt," Xcct 
Kctvos, "fid ytarl Scv eKayes Kara 7ra>s ere 7rapdyy€tXa s Try ypa<f>rj;" 
" IlaJs Se' raJfca^a, vet tJ ypa<f>7] a 8t€ Tt a' €ypac/>€S." 

Tt) iraipvzi tt) ypacfrr) Kai ttj 8ta/3d£et. 'JZOdppeif/e 7T(3s vetpevorrav, 
Tpt/?€t to, p,arta t KaXd KaXd Kal Se' puropovcre vd KaTaXafiy 7ra)s ycvK€ 
avro to iTpap,a ytaTt to ypdiiap,o rjrav Oko t . Tores Xect " KaXd, 8e 

7T€tOOL^€t. AvOlO TO TTpCtil, yXvK€tatS ^apaatS V( * T0V <T KtoO~r}<$ TOV NdtVTtS 

Kat vet tov o~T€tXr)s dnrdvov 's to 7rp6/3aTa p.€ ptd ypacfrr) ttov 6d ere Sojqto)." 
K* e/carcre k' eypaif/e 's tovs TO-opL7ravap€ov<s Kara 7ro)S Kat irpMTa. 

Trjv dXXrj to wpo)'); Ta^yv^qpa oSkwOkc r) yvva^Ka r Kal 7rrjy€ vd ^VTrvrjarf 
tov NatvTts. Ma a^ta crifiKt 's tov ovtol Kat toi/ etSc ttov KotpLOvvrav 
yXvKa yXvKa /xecr' ttj KOpr) t's tt)v otyicaXta, XvittjOkc vd tov £v7rvr)crr} Kat 
tov a<f>K€ vd \opTao-rj tov vttvo aKop.a Kappua wpa. U act s to yvto t s 
/cat tov Xect " Kot/xacrat, 7ratSt /a';" ""O^t, ftava /xV <( ^?//cov vet 
KaftaXXiKeil/Yjq /cat va Tras avTT) tt) ypacfrr) *s rovs TO-OjaTravovs 7rov fioo~Kovv 
Ta 7rpo/?aTa." S'/cwverat to 7rat8t /ca/3aAAt/ccv€t 7ratpv€t tt) ypa<j>r} Kal 

"Yorepts ct7ro KapLiroar) wpa cr*KU)v€Tai kyj o avTpas t s /cat tt/ purraet 
"Tov co-TetXes;" "Tov Xv7rrjOKa vd tov ^vrrvrjaat tov NalVrts," Xect 
/cctvry, "p,ot /at) votct^ecrat, avrpa ft*, 77 JP^V 7r «->? " € /^€ to ytno /xas." 
"Tt €Kaves ^pe yvvat/ca / " cj>wvd£,€i Ketvos Kat p-iot Kat Svo 0"av vet tov 
7rr/pe p-tct dvaXajSr;, Tpe^ct o^ou ytd vot tov 7rpo<j>Tdo-r). H yuvatKa t 
Odpp€\j/€ 7T(05 tov t;p^€ 7rdXt dxa<l*va crdv Kal X r *S KaL T P^X €t KaTa7ro8t t'. 

^raVovras *s to /3ovvo fiprJKt 7ra>s ot ro"op,7ravot rov €t^av ^aXacrr? tov 
yvto' t' Kat rov €tx«v pt^ ftco - ' '9 to TTT/ydSt, ktJ obr' tt) iriKpa t kt) ciV to 
a^rt t* 7rec/»T€t Krj avros /xcVa Kat ^otv£Tat.. *H yvvatKa yXeTrovTas tov 
avrpa t's ttov 7r€o-€ p-ecr' 's to Trrjyd&L Ta^ao"€ Kat pixy^Tai Kal Ktivrj /xco"a 
Kat 7T€$aV€ Kj) aVTTfj. K' CTCTt Ct7TOp.V€ d NdtvTts KXrjpovopLOS. 

Avto 8cV Vat 7rapapLv6i. Etvat 7rpatta ttoi) yivKt Kal Set^vct 7r<3s Try 
Motpd t Kavcvas 8c' p,wopu vd ttj ^€c/>vyry. 


To BACiAdrroyAo ka! 6 ahtoc. 

'ApXV T °v TrapafxvOiov. KaX^ wirkpa eras. 

Mia /3oA.a k evav Katpo ^ray €vas /3ao-tA.€as k* €t^€ rpta 7rai8td, //A 6 

fUKpOT€pO<S rjTCLV 6 7TUO OLVTp€L(t)fJL€VO<S KTj 6 7T€l6 W/AOpC^OS OLTT OvXvOL. 

*Hp#c /catpos kyj appa>(TTr)<r€ 6 /3ao-tXka<; woXv ftapetd, rjrav 7rcta yta 
OavdTo, k elwav 61 ytarpol 7ra)s yta va yXvnoa vpkir^i va <f>dr} £ovyyi dir 
dpcrcvtKO Xayo. Tore? c^wvafc ra fiaaiXoTrovXa /cat Ta €t7re* 

"IIai8id p., appaxrros 7roAt> /Japctd, k ot ytaTpot €t7rav ttojs yta 
va yevoo /caXa irpkirei va <£da> £oi)yyi aTr' apo~€VLKO A.ayo. 2|as ircpiKaXd) 
Xolttov va 7rar€ 's to Kvvrjyt kol va uc <f>kpT€ ev dpcrevt/co A.ayo." 

" KaAa, iraripa" ct7rav tol 7rat8ta feat wrjpav rats o-atrats rous /cat t* 
apfjuard t's *at Kivyjtrav yta va 7rav. Iliyyav dAdpya 's ra ovpfxdvia yta va 
/3povv Aayovs. Ot 8uo ot rpavvrepot ot ytot 8c' Kara<£epav va o~kot<oo~ot;v 
Kav KOLveva, fxd 6 ptt/cpoTepos ctkotooctc rpets, p-a icdvevas a7ro Savrovs Scv 
iyrav dpo"cvtKOS. Ot dSep<£ot r dp^Lvrjaav va rov £ouA.cvouv ytaTt <f>dvK€ 
Trcto aftos a7r* avrovs. Trjv aXXrj rrj puipa £ava/3yr]Kav 's to Kvvfjyt kcu 
irdXi ra tSta* ot Svo ot rpavot 8e' paroptcrav va Kavovv rt7rores /xa 6 
fiiKporepos o"Kora)0"€ Suo /c evas a7T roi>s Suo Aayous eAa^e vav* dpo~evt/cds. 
Tores rov ^ovXeij/av olko/jl rreto irapa 7rdva> k* et7rav 6 evas fie. rov dXXo • 

"*As rov o-KOTcucroTJac k vcrrepts va 7rovfJL€ rov irarepa jmas 7T(os rjpOav 
KAe^rats Kat rov xdAao-av." 

Kct wovra ^Tav ei/a TnyydSt ttoXv iraXrjo fxl fxdpfxapa yvpo yvpo Kai to 
vcpb l/fyaivc 7ro /xeo-a Kat ^c^ctAtfe 7ro rpiyvpo *s ra fxdpfxapa. "Atta ^p^e 

Kt) 6 fJ,lKpOT€pO<S TOT€S TOV €t7TaV ' 

" Ae* 7TLVOVfJL€ V€p6 TT aVTO TO 7T^yd8t, CTCTt 7TWS €LfJLaCTT€ 8t^/AaC^^t€VOt; ,, 

" Ma irpkirti va 7rtov/xc /xe r^v dpa8a," Aect 6 rpavvrepoSy " 7rpa>ra o* 
evas, vo-rcpts o dAXos Kat s ra varepva 6 rptros." 

352 Macedonian Folklore 

Tores rjine 7rpwra 6 rpavvrepos, varepis 6 Sevrepos k varepvos o 

fllKpOT€pO<$. E/?aAc TTj 7TaXa T KOLL T7] (TCLlTa T a7T0 KaV OL7T T7] piaO~\dXy} 

Kal fa7rAcJ0K€ ra fJL7rpovfxvra yta va my dbr' to vcpb ttov erpe\e aw ofco V* 
ra p.apfiapa. Tores o Ivas rov iridv anr toW irohdpi ktj 6 aAAos air t 
aX\o kcll tov piyyovv jixecra \ to 7n?yaSt. "Ettcotc to Aonrov to /3ao-tAoVovAo 
pL€0~a k ol a$epcf>oi rov e<f>vyav /cat yvpaav Ttcra) 's to 7raAaVfc. "Ajma 
etprao-av €K€t tov irrjyav rov irarepa rovs tov kayo Kal TOU7rav 

a Na, irarepa, Kara(f>epdfie Kal /3pt]KafJL€ dpa-evtKO Aayo o-rjfxepLs, fta 
e^ao-a'/xc tov dhep<j>6 pas" k enavav rruis ^Tav 7roAu iriKpa/nevot. 

" M7rp€, riXere; irws yevrjKe Savro ;" poirdet o /^acrtAcas Kat 7rerd)(Tr]Ke 
o£u) V to KpefiPaTi, ytaTt tov dyairovae tov paKporepo tov yto tov ttcio 

7T€ptCTO"OT€pO 7T t's aAl'Ot. 

a Tt va o-€ 7ro{)/x,€, irarepa" Acv, " /cct 7roG Kvviqyovarap,e a£a<£va rjpOav 
KXe<f>rais k rjueXav vd p,ag KaTaTrovTto-ovv, k' rjpcts ot Svo f €<£vyap,€, p,a o* 
dSepcf>6s ftas xP-Okz" 

Tores yevrjKe fxeyas Oprjvos \ to 7raAaTt, kt) o /foo-tAcas k' r/ fiacriXicrara 
vtvOkov 's to, fiavpa k €KAatyav Kat OXi^ovvrav iroXv. 

Tcopa va t s a<f>r\orovjxe K€i ttov Oprjvovaav Kal va irafxe 's to /?ao~tAo- 
7rovAo. To TrrjyadL ttov tov eppt^av fxeca rjrav iroXv /3a0v, Kal rpia 
Xpovia eirecjire 8t^o)s vavprj irdro. "Yarepa iro Tpta xpdvta ^"drrjae yrjs 
Kal fiyrJKe V t' aAAo /xepos. 'Avoty' Ta p,a\ia t kol yXi-iret 7r<os rjTav \ 
aXXo Koo-fxo. HTavc o KaT<o Koa"/xos. Kat K€t p.aKpva /x-a/cpua yX&irzi 
eva </«3s. IIcpTraTOVTag, TrzpiraTOVTas, TrcpTrarovras cftTavci o~€ fua. KaXvfia. 
'Ekci ju.eo"a ^Tav /xta yprja k hrXaOe t,vp.dpt p,€0~a ere. p,ta Kov7raviTo~a yta 
va icav# jata irovyaTO-a. Tot€5 to fiaariX<LirovXo xrd^et 7rt3s 77 yp^a, Sev 
€t^e vepo', />iovo e/cXatye Kat {vpv€ to aAevpt /xc tol haKpvd t's k' ecj^Tvve. 
Kat K€t 7ro9 eKXacye k e<f>TW€ /cat ^vjAwve to xap.ovpi rpayovSovore 

XvTT7]T€pa, Xv7T7]T€pd* 

To /3aaiXo7rovXo airopecre ttoXv yX&TrovTas ttjv va <f>Tar) Kal va. KXaiy 
Kai ttjv dXv7njOK€. 

" KaA.^ enrepa, Kvpa fiaviw," ttj Xcct. 

" KaA.o '5 to 7rat8t /xoi;/ 7 Aect K€tv>7 Kat Kvrra^e p,e aVopi'a Ito-i 7ra>s 
^Tav v€og iraXXrjKapas kyj avTp€to>p,cvos Kat /xe t^ 7raAa Kat tt) aaira 7rava> 
's tov vc3p,o toi;. " 'A7ro Trot) €p^€o*at, yte p-ou; corv 8ev €to~at a7ro TOVTa 
tol pLtprj, purjv €p^€o-at V tov Avo> Koo-p,o;" 

" MaAtora, €p^op,at -7ro tov Avco KoVpo, p.a 7rc3s t' a7T€iKdo-TrjK€<s y 
fxavta; " 

" A Ap, €p,€ts eSaJ Scv €)(Ovp.€ t€$olovs dvTp€<s aav Kal criva. <3>atv€0~at 
7tws ctcat V €K€t 7ravcu. Kat 7ro)s KaTec^Kcs eSdj;" 

Totcs tt)v d<t>r)yt]6K€ to jSaa-LXowovXo " to Kal to p.€ y€V7yK€," Kat TraJs 

Appendix II. 353 

rov eppi£av r dB£p<f>ia t pier *s to 7rr)yd$i. "Ma Sc* /w-c Acs," Xcct Tr) 
yprjd, "ytart §€* 7ratpV€ts vepb va ^vfiwo-ys to xap,ovpL /xe vcpo, p,dv* to 
£vp,tuv€t9 /X€ to, haKpva (r Kat fi€ to c/>Tv/>ta, /cat ytaTt KXats Kat fxvpo- 

"*A yt€ /jtOV, V6/0O <$€V €^OVfJL€ (T€ TOVTO TOV TOTTO, Etv' €Va 7TYjydSt, fid 

to <£vXaet p,ta Aap-ta, ci/a Orjptb TerpairoSo p,€ Tpta K€c£a*Xta kcu f^Tact tov 
7rao-a p,r/va Vo cva Kopircn va <j>drj k €T<tl v d<f>rjo"rj to vepb va Tpi$rj. 
Avrbv tov jxrjva €7r€0"€ d Xa^vos *s Tr) p-ovaxoKOprj /xov tt) MapovSa Kai ttjv 
t)(pvv Tuipa $€fi€vr) *s tov 7rXaVavo ft€ t's aXiwro-tSats, kj) avpio 6a /3yrj to 
Orjptb Kai 6d ttj <f>drj. Yia SavTO KXatyco Kai 6pr)v<t>." 
Afia t (lkovo~€ avra ra Xdyta to PaatXoTrovXo €L7r€' 
" 'Eyw #a to o"KOTa>o-a> avrb to Orjpio Kai @a yXwawra) /cat to KOpiTcrt cr 

KTJ OvXo TOV ToVo. MovO SoO"€ p,OV /XtO, flTTOVKOVCTia Va <j>diO V aVT^ T>] 

TTOvyaro-a apa ttj xj/r)ar)^' 

"*A yte /a', 7rd>s #a jXTropiarjs io~v va to ctkotwo-^s to OrjpLo, ttov ktj o 
pao-ikeas cbr' avrr) Tr) 7roXtT€ia ktj orXo r aoTccpt t ToVa xpdvta Ttopa to 
TroXcp.ow Kat Tt7roT€s 6e* jxiropovv va Kavouv;" 

" 'Eyo> #a to o"kot<ixto>," Xcet to ^SaciXoTrovXo. 

" M-^v Tras va. firj at <£a# k* co-era." 

"'Eyto 8c' <f>ofiovp,ai. H #a to KaTa7rovTtcra> avro to Orjptb rj va 

'Ekci 7rov fjukovo-e a£a<£v* aKovet p,ta €f>wvrjj Kpa, Kpd. Tvpi&i Kat 
yX€7ret eva fieyaXo 7rovXt 7rovTav o~€ /Ata, ywvta *9 t^ Kakvfia* cva? a^TOS 
Xpvo"o<? ora-v ayycXos. Paimct " n V airro to 7rouXt;" 

" Avto fie t d<f>K€ 6 dvTpas /jl' dvTa? 7r€^av€ €So> k' €KaTO xpdvta, K 
cyo> t dvdOp€\f/a o>? ttov Tpaveij/e Kat yivKe ercrt irov to yXc7^6ts. ,, 

"*A/A€ Ketvr; ?; fiovftdXa KU ti ctvat;" 

" Kr; avT?) ttj f3ov/3dXa fie tk]v a<^>K€ o* avTpas /jl* eSw k' ckoto ^povta 
k cya> t^v avaOpeij/a" X«t >J ypyd. 

EtCL 7T0V X4fJL€ TOV l8tOK€ K* €<£a€ 7Tta fJLTTOVKOVO-LCL V Ti) 7TOVyaTO"a, 

a/xa T>yv c^crc, Kat to Pao~LX6irovXo Kivqo'e pik tt) 7raXa t' Kat ti; catTa t' 
yta va 7raTy K€t irovTav rj MapouSa $€fjievr) '? tov 7rAaVavo Kat KapTcpovo"€ 
va /?yij to ^pto va Tt; <j>drj. "Afia €<pTao~€ K€L koC tyjv €t8c, tt) Xcct* 

"IIws ctcrat 8<o; Tt Kavcts;" 

" Etci r/Tav t^9 Tv^5 p-ov, €7T€0"€ o Xa^vo? o*€ p,€va Kat KapTepui va 
fiyrj to OrjpLo Kai va ft€ <^a|7 yta v* d^jjo-rj to v€po." 

Totcs to Pao-iXoTrovXo /3yd^€t to o-iraOi t Kai Kofiet Tats aXvoWSats 

rvui i y 'v«ct 

"My (frofido'aL cyw ^a crc yXvTaxro)." 

KctViy €TO*t 7TOU TOV €t8c €Va VCO COLV aO"TpO, TOV dXv7T7}0K€ Kai Xc€t* 

A. F. 23 

354 Macedonian Folklore 

"<£€vya fJLaKpva V cSaJ, ytaTt Od \a6fjs k io-v 07ra>s ^ddKav Tocrot 
aAvot. Ate, K€t 7T€pa ctvat ra fnvrjfAopLa irovvai Oafifxivoi ovXoi 7rov 
<r<jD$Kav eSaJ Kat ToVa ^povta yta va ykvruKrovv tov totto." " Mrj <T€ 
fjLcXrj" Alet to ^ao-tAo7rovAo, Kat yvpo*c kolI Kvrra^c 7roi) ovAos O KdfJLTTOS 
rjrav ycjuaros a7ro fjLvrjfxopiaj fid 8k* <f>o/3rj8K€. Kat K€t wov fxiXovaav 
aKOvyCTat Iva ^ojScpo Tafiarovpi abv fipovmj y Kai rpavra^e r] yrjq crdv va 

yivOVVTOLV (TCtO-ftO?. 

"To Orjpib fiyawei, <^€vya, <j>€vya va fxrj ere <frdrj Kai crevaf" cjnavd^ r] 
MapovSa, p,d to /3acriXo7rovX6 rrjv irrjpe 's tol X*P lol Kat tk\v 1/SaAc *s Iva 
j/^Ad fJLtpos dXdpya Kalyvpae va TraXaixf/rj fxk ttj Kdfxia. 

K ^Tav avTO Iva /xcydAo Qeoparo 9rjpib fxk vv^ta dyKa0a)Ta Kat 8vo 
<j)T€pa irov €<f>Tavav dirb So3 K77 <Js kcitw 's tov Kajxiro to 7rdo"a Iva. Kat 
fiyrJKt a.7T0 jul€0" a,7r* to ir-^yaSt Kai 7ridcrTrjK€, fik to, vv^ta t' air rrj yijs 
Itoi/ao yta va xif^V " 7 ]' ^V ^f JLa € *^ € TO /3acriX67rovXo €t7T€* 

" KaAd ft* ^Aeyc 97 ^tdva /aov 77 Ad/ua - woXvol 6a </>as fid OdpOrj fxia 
fjuepa Iva? Tc^oto? kj) a,7ro KCtvov va cfaoprjOrjs." 

Tot€S to /3acriXoirovXo piyrvfKe. atravdi tov fx€ rrj irdXa Kai tcoScdkc 

TO)StDK€ Kat 7TpcUTa €KOlf/€ fl€ TO O~7Ta0t TO>Va TO K€<£dAt K V<TT€pa TO dAAo 

ok 7rov to xaAacrc 7rlpa -7T€pa Kat Sev dirofwe povOovvi irov Aeet kt) o 

'O k6o~ijlo<s ovAos ktj o vTOuvtds, fUKpol /AcyaAot, 6 7rao"as Ivas kt) 6 
^aq-iAeas /x€ t-^ ScoScKaSa fxa^v, fjTav aWwo '5 to Kaa-Tpo Kai 6<i>povo~av to 
rrdXaLfxa. Kt) dfxa o-<d6k€ to drjpio, dp^tvTyo-e vdp^cTat to v€po /*€ /?oi) 
fJL€ydXr], Kat yifXicrav oAats 17 o~T€p vat9 k* 7} <j>ovaKLvai<$ Kat tol Ka£avta 
7rovp(av ot d$p<j)7roL ^a^tptKa. 

Tores 7nijpc to fiao-tX67rovXo ttj MapovSa V to ;(€fH yta va tt^v Tra]/ 

ITMTW-'s T^ /AClVa TS, Kat K€tV77 TOV I80DKC TO 8a^TvAt8t t's Kat TOV €t7T€* 

"Etyttat Tcopa Okt] o-ov" 

Kt) a^ita rjpOav *? tt^ KaXvfia Kai tov? €tSc tJ yprjd 9 Skv rjOeXe. aKOfxa va 
iriCTTOJ/ri 7rd>s to Orjpib o-u>9k€, fjua vo~T€pa 7rCaT€\j/€. Ae€t to fiao-iXoirovXo' 

"TcoKava avTO to dvTpay dOrjpia fxk ttj fJLTTOVKOVo~ id irov /movScokcs, ttov 
tyjv €t^cs £vfAU)fJi£v7} fi€ Ta SaKpva a"*, avTO /a' IStoKe dvTO€ta Kat to viKrjo-a 
to Orjpio. Twpa ^ct /ac Scoc^s T^f koot^ o~ov yuvatKa Kat Oa/xai iravTa ytds 


v ET0"t <j>iXy]$Kav Kai tov ISwkc ry Mapoi58a to Sa^TvAtSt t's Kat Kctvds 
tyjv I8o)kc to ^ko tov Kat y€VK€ 6 dppa^covas. 

Ma 6 /3ao-iX£as k r] SwScKaSa tovs KaKo<j>dvK€ 7ra5s cvas ^Ivos KaTa<f>€pe 
k €Kave Iva t£Ooio /xeydAo dvTpayd^p-a, 7roi) avTOt T00"a ^pdvta 7roA€- 
fxovcrav Kat §€ p.7rdp€0-av, k' ^cAav vd tov KaTairovTicrovv. By^Kav /*€ 
o-atVats Kat o"TraOid i iroXv do-K€pi, k Ip^ovvTav KaTa tt) KaXv/3a yta va tov 
7rido-ovv. "A/xa t aKovo"€ avTo >y yp^d Aeet* 

Appendix II 355 

* *Eo"€ts ol Svb rwpa Trp€7T€L vol <f>vyrjT€ yta va yAvroKTrc. 'Eyca/xat 
yprja yvvatKa, va fi d<j>-qo~T€ Sa5 KatSe" p.€ p.cA.€t, as Trcflavto." 

" Kat 7ra)9 0a <f>vyovfi€, fidva li\" Xiu to ^8aort\o7rov\o, " va ycveo 
o^tos vol 7T€Ta£(o; aQpwiros ct/Aat. *As IpBovv ktj otl OiX* 6 Oebs as 

Tores Aect ^ ypyd* " Avtos o a^ros ttov /x€ tov a$K€ 6 avTpas ft* Kat 
tov Wpexj/a Too-a ^povta, avTOS #a o"as fiyaXrj o£a>. ' 

Tov ptoT7}£av tov drjTO Kat Acv "T<opa irpkir^i k ecru va /xas /Jot; #770775, 

7TOV (T€ Op€\j/afl€ TOO~a ^pOVta." 

" Kvtt) tvjv u>pa KapT€povo~a Kat ya>," Acct 6 aT/ros. " Eo"€ts ot 8vo 
va KafiaWKtij/Te \ tov Xr)p.6 jx Kat va irdpre 0po<£ats, va irapT€ rptaKOO*tats 
okglScs Kpcas, Kat TptaKoVtats oKaSes vepo, Kat va <£vyov//.e." 

" Kat 7rov #a to flpovfji€ to Kpcas, Kat ?rov #a jBpovfxe TovXovfM fieydko 
yta. va ^(Dpicrrj rocro vepo;" tov ptnTovv. # 

" Na o-<j>d$T€ tt) /BovpdXa ttov Kat Kctvry t?) Optij/aTz t6o~cl ^povta, va 
Tiy y8apT€ Kat ftc to Kpeas t*s 0a Opa<f>ovp,e, ktj air to 7T€Tcri t's va koVtc 
rovAov/xt Kai va to ycyuoTc vepd. ' 

T^v €o~<t>ct(av Trj fiovpdXa Kat <f}opTO)aav to Kpeas air' Tawa to fiepos 
Kat to tov Aov/x-t a7r' t aAAo ktJ dvi<f>Kav to /2ao~tAo7rOvAo p.€ to KoptVcn 
a7rav«) 's tov Atj/jLO, Kat o"tya, ouya avot£e to. <j>T€pd r 6 aiyTos ktj dpxivrjcre 
va 7T€Tdy. 

""tlpa oas KaX>y /" <£u>va£€ 77 yp#a k' cVeac Kat (&pV)(r/(T€. 

'O drjrbs aVe/?atv€, aVc/Jatvc SaiSeKa ^povta Kat o~tya, crtya o~a>0Kav ]J 
0po<t>a.L<5. " Kpa, Kpa," <f>wva$€, 

« ^€tv<5. ,, 

Tores Kofiet to fiacriXoTrovXo to [attovtl V* to fcp/Jt tov ^cpt Kat to 
/?a£€t 's tt) //.vn? V tov a-^To. " Kpa, Kpa," ffxavdfa irdXi' 

<( Tt<9cs;^ 

" At^w." " 

To'tcs j8a^€t to crTOfxa r Kovrd 's r^ ytxvTry Kat tov Stv>7 va 7Tt§ to <f>TVfia t. 
"ETO~t /Jtepa yu,€ T17 p-epa £vycovav 's tov v Avcd Koo"/x.o. Ma 7raXt fava- 
7T€tvacr€ d a^Tos Kat to f3ao~i\67rov\o Ikoi/^c to plttovtl V* to Sef 1 tov ^cpt 

Kat TOV e8a)K€ Va <^>a27 # Yo-TCptS €KO\f/€ TO JATTOVTI V TO ^€p/3t TOV 7r6St k' 

WTcpts a7r' to Scft tov 7rd8t Kat rov 7roTt^€ V to a-Topa r o$s 7rov avc^Kav 
aTravaj k* €t8av </>aJs Kat KarecftKav 's cva [iovvb o-i/xa *s t^ ?roAiT€ta tov 
7raTcpa t*. 

^.^.^.9 v» w.y.«J «.v.. ». JU»w v«. ^MKUJ V/1M U'iUfW ^ UUIU IW LfUVVU. Kill 

o-cts va 7rotTC 's t^ 7roXtT€ta ki) av tv^ov 7totcs cx^tc t^v dvdyKY) jx vd ll€ 
SoKrjOiJTe. Na avTO to <f>T€p6 y vd TO Kd\f/T€ Kai yiii 0* a7reiKaVa) a7T* TW 


356 Macedonian Folklore 

fjLvpo)8ia kou OdpOio *s rrj crTifxr]" K e/JyaXc Iva /xtKpb xpvab tfyrepo V to 
yXet^apo r Kat tovs tco&okc. * 

"A/xa €(f>ra(rav *9 ttj 7roXtT€ta to /Jao-tXoVouXo patTrji € * " IIoi) €tvat o 
Spo/xo? ttov 7ra€t 's to 7raA.aTt;" Kat tov tov eSctfav. 

Et^av 7T€ta, 7T€pd(Ty cikoo-Vcvtc, rptavra xpovia air tov Katpo toG ^Tai/ 
<f>€vyd.Tos kt) 6 iraripas t k 77 /xava r ct^ai/ yepaartj, Krj avTOs €t^€ rpaviij/ri 
Kal €J>aLvovvrav tt€l6 iraWrjKapas 7ro TrpwTa. 

"A/xa 77 /xava t* tov ctSc toi/ yvcopto"€ '9 tt) cttl/jltJ. At ^€\va€L 7tot€9 77 
jxdva to iraihi; oo~a -^povia kt) av rrcpao-ovv vd to Scrj iraXt to yvwpt^ct, o~av 
xua 7rpo/3aTiva a/xa \dari T0 funpo t's to yvpevei zro 8a> 7ro K€t /cat to /2pto~K€t 
xtc tt) /xvpwStot. *Eto"i 7rov Xc/xc k' 17 /xctva t' a/xa tov ctSc o-y/kw6k€ V to 
dpavto K€t 7roi5 KaOovvTav xta£t> /xc tov jSao-tXca, avotfe tt}v ay/caXta t's Kal 
<f><tiva£€ m " 'O yto'9 ttas, 6 yt09 /xa9 wou tov ct^a/xc ^afiivo ! Ae tov 
yvcopt£et9, avTpa fiov;" 

</ OvTa9 t' aKOVorcv auTa 6 jSao-tXcas crrjKwOKt Kat K€tvo9, xta ot aXvot, 17 
oW)€Kci8a, ct7rav " IIpeTTct TTpwTa va tov ^CTa^s /X77V ctvat Kavcvas 
\//€VTr]<;, ytaTt xict9 £ipov/x€ 7ra>9 6 ytos o-ov 6 fitKporepos ireOave Sa> Kat 
ToVa xpovia" 

Tot€9 6 fiao-iXzas ap^Cvyjcre vd tov iJ€Td£rj, Kat K€tvo9 tov a<f>rjyrjOK€ to 
Kat to ovXa O7ro)s €tx«-v yevjj, tta. 8cv ^^cXav va tov morrow. " IIa>9 
y€V€Tat avTo;" Xcet 6 ^ao-tXca?, " aum 7roi5 /xa9 Xc9 yta tov Kara) Koo-/xo 
Kat Aa/xtat? ?/xt€ts 7totcs 8c* t' aKovaap,€." 

ToT€S €t7T€ 7/ /3aCTtXlO'0*a * "^AvTpa XtOV $€V €^9 SlKYjO. Avto 'vat TO 

TratSt /xa9. 'Eyw to ^cpw, 7/ KapSid fi fie to A.€€t." 

Tot€9 6 pao-i\4a<s 7rpoo"Ta^c Tot9 ypa/x/xaTtKot va fipovv 9 to. TC<f>T€pta 
tov Katpo ttou ydOn* to Pao-tXoirovXo kyj oXvol ypafifxaTtKol vd to, ypaif/ovv 
ovXa KOLTa 7TOJ9 tov9 Ta7T€ Twpa. <r Yo'T€pt9 yvptfct '9 to /3ao-L\o7rov\o Kat 
to Xcct* "At KttXa, va Ta 7rto"T€^ovxt€ avra, 7roi) /xa<? Xc9, ?rc»)9 KaT€<^>K€9 
€K€t KctTW, p.a 7ra)9 yvpto*€9 a7TO K€t; " 

Tot€9 to pacnXoirovXo tou9 d<t>r)yt]0K€ 7r<3s 6 drjTos toi>9 avi/3ao-€ '9 tov 
7rdVa> k6o~/jlo Kat Odfia^av aKo/xa 7T€to 7T€picrcr6T€po Kat §€v ry^eXav va 
7rtorT€i//ovv * "Avto 7rp€7T€t va /xa9 to $LafjLapTvprjo-Y)<s" \€€i 6 /?acnXca9. 
" IIoi; etvat avros 6 drjTOs; tl yivice to ttov\l; v 

" K^TTa^TC Ta KpeaTa xt* ttou TaKOif/a yta, va tov Opixj/o), crav 8c* 
Trio-TCirrc," Xc€t to pao-ikoTTOvXo k ISct^c to. X^P ta T * Ka ^ T ^ ^oSta T KCt 
7touy€ ko^* to Kpea9, fto, TTctXt SvcTKoXcvovTav yta va irLarTof/ovv. 

To't€9 77 MapovSa SokyJOkc to <f>T€pb Kat Xccr "Tt TWKap.C9, avrpa a*, 
to <f>T€pb irov /xa9 cSwkc 6 0177709; T<opa 'vat Kcupbs vd to Kdif/r)<; Kat OdpOrj 
va SLapLapTvptfo-rj." 

" KaXa X€9," Xcct to ^acrtXoVovXo, "Tor^a do-TOxyvrf" Kat /fya£* a?r* 

Appendix II 357 

ttj ra-iirq t to <j>T€po, ktj dfia to ctoW ot aXvot Odp,a£av ytaTt 7totcs tovs 
Scv €tx«v Sifj riOoio xpva-o kt) co/xopc/>o <f>T€po. Totcs to /3ao*tXd7rovXo 
Tw/JaXc kovtol 5 r»? <£ama s to tiayKaXt ttovtov s ti) /acq-' ttj Kaifxapa Kat 
t ava\j/€ KCU yejiure to 7raXaVt ?ro p.ta /xvptoSta copat'a. 

WLa0€VT7}K€ o£(t) 's T)) 7ToXtT€ia 7T(OS Oapdrj €VOL T€0OtO WOvXl KOU OvXot Ot 

dOpwirot PyrjKav vd to Slovv kol k€l rrrov Kaprepovcrav tov drjrov to €p£t/xo 
ykewovv kol <f>av€pd>V€Tai eva fxeyaXo o~vyv€<j>o ktj aya'X* ayaXia Ka.T€<f>K€ 

/X€ /3oY] K €K(lTO~€ S TOV ij \ La KO TOV TToKoTiOV. 

Totcs €t7T€ to fiaaiXoTrovXo • a Bao"tX€a /a*, v dv€J3ovpL€ ovXoc aVava) *s 
tov ^XtaKo kt) o* drjTos OdpOrj K€t." 

Kt) dvicf>Kav ovXot k €t8av tov drjTO, Krj 6 ai^Tos 7rpoo~Kvvar€ tov 
j&icriXea ktj o* fiao-iXias Toy pom^c* " lies p,as, /2pc cl^tc, irak aVcc/>K€s 
a7r tov KaTto Koorp,o;" ktj d drjTos fitXrjcr€ Kat t d(f)7]yqOK€ ovXa, ktJ 
o^Tas €cra)cr€ tov Xoyo Kavet "yXov, yXov" koX ^epvdec twvol KO/AuaVt to 
kpias- " Avto Vat" Xcct, " aV to ^cp/?t crou X*/ 01 ? 7rov TO txoij/es yta va 
p,€ Opeij/rjs " /cat TwfiaXe *s tov toVo tou, /c* €<j>tvo~€ kol t di<6XXr)o-€. K' 
vo-Tcpts IjSyaXc t aXXo Ko/x/xaTt /cat t* aVoXXr/o-c s to 8e£t to X*/ 31 * k * 
vo-Tcpts Ta 7rd8ta. 

Tores oiAot 7TLO'T€\f/av ky} 6 ySao-tXcas dyKaXia&e to TratSt t* /cat ttj 
MapovSa Kat t<s e/BaXe k eKaTO-av kovtcl t' Kat Xc€f aV ETO"t Xoi7rov t 
dS4p<f>ia a rjdeXav vd ae KaTairovTiaovv ;" /cat 7rpocrTa£c va tous wtdcrovv 
Kat va tous o"<^>a^ow, p.a to jSao-tXo7roi;Xo €7rco*€ 's tol yovaTa Kat tov 
<f>CXr)o-€ ttj iroSia Kat tov 7rcpiKaA.€0*€ va tovs crvparaOyjcrrj • ** v H^€Xav va 
tic Kavouv KaKO," Xeet, " p,a f3yf}K€ Vc KaXd, ytaTt av 6V p,* cpptxvav 's to 
7rrjyd&i 8e ^ayXeira Kat Ketvo tov Koo"p,o Kat 8c' ^aKava Toaa cry)p,€ta ktj 
dvTpayaOrjpiaTa Kat Sc' ^a 8o£d£ov{iovv" Kat p.€ tol 7roXXa tov KaTacf>€p€ 
tov /JaortXea va tovs avfiiraOrjorrj Kat <fnXrj6KOLV ovXot k* e^rjaav KaXa Kat 
yucts KatXXtVcpa. 

'Ek€1 '? T7/ KpLo-rj rj/jLOvva k iyii) kjj aVo K€t Ta 7r^pa Kat o~as t* 
d<j>riy)]0Ka diroif/e. 


*l&TpOCCKJ>ION *ncJ)€AlMON. 

a. 07roios 64\€L va dypv7rvrjcrrj /cat vd firjv Scv vvcrrd^rj' ttovXIv 
ctvat to ovop.atpp.zvov irvpyiTq^ rovrov rovs ocfrOaXfjiovs kcu rov Kaftovpov 
rd ofXfiara kcll rrjs , . . 6/Wo>s €ts dcnrpov rravlv ivrvXi^oVy /cat vol 

ra Scores €t? rov Sttjiov rov /^oa^t'ova, /cat ov wcrrd^ei. 

6. II cot rov Stomal /ca'/ji7ras* hrapov Ka/jwrtas y' dirb rov ktJttov, 
hrapov kcu dnvpiov [?] kcu Ka7rvLcrov rov ktjitov 1 rj rb 7T€pt/JoAtoi/, kcu 

t/3'. EtS TTOVOV hhoVTMV 2 KOLfie TOVTO TO CTrffJidSlV, KCU crrrjcrai TO 

fjua^aiptv ets to kolkovSl to ipurpbs kcu Aeyc to Tldrcp r}p,<jjv kcu e/cctvos 
671-01) 7rov€i vol Aeyr; t[o Kuptc] 3 eAe^ow /cat voraTov €<£v[yci/ (?)] drrb to 
a 0l/ /cav/couSt [sic] as fidXrj eis rb hevrepov, 6/aomos /cat €15 to rpirov, kcu 
X^p LV Oeov laOrjarerai. 

Ets Sea va. A.UO-77S 4 avSpa Scfiivov r\ yvvcuKct, ypd<j>€: — 
t£'. Eis plyov [sic] Trvperov ypdif/ov cts pLrjXov rj eis aTrtSLV "Aytc 
ayycAc ckActc [mc] rov K.vpiov r}p,wv Iv Xv owov cto"at Kara irdvov rov 
piyov [sic] Kal rov irvperov Biov, [?] 5 rpiraiov, r€Tapraiov, kcu Ka6r)pL€pwov 9 
8tdpprj£ov rb[v] piyo7rvp€rbv [sic] dirb rov SovXov rov Ov o 8 ' [= Sctva], eis 
rb dvopa rov IIps v Kal rov Ylov kcu rov Kylov ILvev 'pharos], 

a). Ets ptyov [sic] KaOrjpLtpwbv Kal rpiralov KOirdvicrov tfi^pv 
xXtDpbv 6p.ov /x€Ta aytaoyxaTos t<3v aytW ®€0<£avciwi/, Kal errpwerov 
/caAaJs Kal ttoti^ov Kal ypdxj/ov rfj otf r}fiepa OTav avareXXei 6 ^Atos 
cts rov Sc£tov rov Zp.ov 6 ' Xs v irixOrj, Kal cts rr)v Sevreprjv [sic] rjpiipav 
Kal ypdif/€ cts purjXov rb Tptcrdytov Kal rb 2to>/ji€v /caA.<3s, /cat as to <t>dyrj 7 


/cy\ Ata va Xvcrrjs avopav [sic] Sc/acVoj/, tirapov p,axa7piv 8 07rov c/ca/j,c 

1 k^wop. 2 65J)ptu)v. 3 a hole in the ms. 

4 Ets 5ia va XLvi's. 5 Perhaps for devrepalov. G pdfiop. 

7 <f>a,yew. 8 paxipw- 

Appendix III. 359 

<j>ovuc6v l • Kat oVav vwdyrj va KOLfxrjOy 6 ScSc/xcvos as ftdvrj to yua\aiptv cts 
ra (tkcXtj tov, koX totc as KOLfArjOfj* /cat orav i^virvrjarj as cwn} rovra Ta 
Xdyta* cos avTovTO [sic] to fia^aipiv €$vvr)6r] va Kafir) c^ovikov 1 , ^yow va 
CTKOTOiarrj avov [= av6*ot07rov], outcos vol &vvr)0rj /cat to c8ikov ^u,ov crcStta va 
7T€tT(o [sic] ^u,€Ta ttJs yvvatKos /aov, toi) to fi,/ [= 8ctva], /cat irdpavra TrcvTct 


/c8'. "OTav apvrjdy Ttvas tt)v ywatKa tou tt)v cuXoy^TtK^v Kat vwdyrj 
cis iropvrjv Zirapov KOirpov ttJs yuvatKOS otov t^s Tropvrjs koI KaVvto-ov to, 
pov)(a tov dv8pos Kpv<f>d* Kat cv0€a>? 0cXct ttjv fxiGrjO-y duot'tos Kat cts to 
c£ avacrTp6(j>oiv z . 

Ke. Ets &aip.ovidpr)v, T77S j3cXai>t8os toO oxj/apiov to crrdp,a as </>opct 
o Saifiovidprjs 4 Kat as ra Ka7rvt£cTat Kat 0cXow c/>vyr/ oV* avrov tol 

k£'. ...SaKij} 5 Ttvas awo [illegible] dt£t8t'tov 77 Kat aXXwv drjptwv Kat va 
t«7 8ci/ tov eyyicrovv aKofir) Kat ot CKvXot 6 va <f>vyovv aV avTOv KOTravt- 
o~ov to XdiraOov Kat to Ki/3Xdfxevov Kat a7roo-<£ouyyt£ctv to KaXXa [wc]» Kat 
aXeixj/ov tov £to//,ov 7 dXiov Kat 0cXc ts Oavfxdo~€L. 

Kr} . Ata va Kvvrjyrjo-rj Ttvas 8 oif/dpta Kat va Ittltv^qj, as <j>op€L 6 xj/apas 
iiravu) tov tovs \j/vk\ov<5 ttJs 6a\do~crr)<s Seuevovs ets 8co/u,aTt [sic] SeXc/>tvov 

[SIC], Kat €7TtTV^atV€t 9 7TaVTOT6. 

k6^. Ata va, €lprjV€vo~rj Ttvas tows i)(6povs tov ypdxf/ov tov if/aXfxov' 
IVcdo-tos 10 cv ttj 'IovSaia, Xutocrc to u€ vcpov 11 Kat 80s tov tyOpov o~ov va 
wlyj /cat 0cXct €lprjV€vo-rj. 

Xa'. Ata va purjv KOuoafwvTat avrivot [sic] o7roi) 7rcot7raTo9v • vciJpa 
a7ro Ta o~k4\y) tov yepavov as <f>opovo~i cts to forvaptv tous. 

X/?'. Ets €^€0"K€7ratr/x€VOV [sic] Kat c/>o^tcr/X€vov • cVapov y £7700. 
KaoTava Kat t^o^ov [=^co^ov] Kat y iroTrjpta Koacrtv xaXatov Kai as 
to 7rtv>7 Ta^v Kat apya, Kat ypat^e Kat to *Ev ap^ij 77V d Xoyos, ft€ tov 
10 tt^v fiorjBeiav, Kat as to /JatTTaci. 

X8'. Ets piyo)V [sic] koiJ/€ Ko/x/xarta i^to/xtou y Kat ypdif/ov i2 to a ov ' y 
aydirr) 6 TLr) p y cts to /8, 77 ^(077 o Ytds, cts to y 77 TrapaKhqai^ to Ilva to 
aytov, dfjbijv. Kat OTav ap^t^Ty 13 d ptyos Kat d wvptTos, as 7toit} o darOevi- 
/xcvos [sic] /xcTavotats y cts to dvo/xa tot) dyiov Ito ou toi; IlpoSpdttov, Kat 
as <£ayj7 to a Ko/xynaTt Kat 0cA.ct iravarj 6 7rupcTOS' Kat cav 8c v 14 7ravcrr] cts 
to 7rpa)TOv, Katie to cts to 8cvrcpov # 77 aX77^€ta 15 7ravTOT€. 

1 (fxavuebv. 2 (TKorrio-ei. * ava<TTp6<f>ov. 

4 defnavidpis here. 5 ...a5ia/d}. 6 (tkLXol. 

10 7Vto0"T(2s. n etXiWe* rw flevepbv. 12 ypdif/e. 

13 dpxtfeu'. 14 8e. 15 EtaXij^. 

360 Macedonian Folklore 

p!. Ilept fjLvrrjv 1 ottov Tpc^ct, Aeyc 2 cis to ttcpos ckcivo 3 o7rov Tpi\€i y 
Kpvc/>i(os €ts to avrt* ttd£, ?ra£, pt7r£, /cat flcAct iravcrrj. 

fxa. Aid va /a^ j"^?? o dVos* /?dAc TTtvToviKa [?] ovyytas j3, 8t'8ov 
tov irao~a [sic] ra^v va TTtVjy Kat ov ptOec. 

p.aft. Aid va itovqaji tj yvvaiKa ydAa* hrapov dycAdSas 4 6vvp(tv 5 Kat 
Kavaw to 6 KaAd, 805 t^s yvvatKOS vd to fydyrj, rj vd to ttltj 7 . 

p.ft\ Aid va psqv <f>of3acrai irXtTTTTjv /cat popTrdpw [sic]* hrapov to 
XppTov to Acyditcvov afyjpOTavoVj cts to ovop,a tov lips Kat tov Ytov Kat 
tov dytov IIvs, /cat /3dora to 07rov 0A.61S vd 7T€pt7raTr}s, Kat tt€ tt)v 
PoijOeiav tov Ov Slv c/>o/2do"at 8 . 

p.y'. Aid va cm/cr^s dc/>tv ip\6pL€vov irpos o"€* OTav tov iSfjs oti 
€/o^€Tat 7rp6s o~€ Acyc Tavra* 

*AveOrjK€V Mwvaijs 9 €7ri o-TrjXrjs d/ccuv [sic] </>0opoiroiu)v XvTtjpiov /cat 
£vAov tvttov crravpov tov 7rpos yijs crvpoptvov 6<f)Lv 7rpoo-€&€o-€ eyKapo-tov, 
cv tovtw ^pia/AjScvo-as to irrjpa, Sto X<3 a<r(ojLt€v t<5 0<3 tJ/aojv drt ScSd- 

//,£'. Atd va iyyaaTpwOfj 77 yvvaiKa' Tpdyov ^oXrjv hrapov /cat as 
aXcii/ty 6 dvSpas to crco/xd tov ttjv iopav ottov tv^ollvcl va Treat} p.€ tyjv 
yvvatKa tov. 

p,0'. Eis <j>o@€pio-p,6v ypd<f>€ cis dyyiKTOv X a P TL dyvvr]TOv [?]• 'EAcoi 
d ©s* Kat t^v [sic] xapaKTrjpa TavTrjv Kat yftdo-ra o-^ 0"X- 

v'. Eis al/jLoppoovaav ypd<f>€ eis ftefipivov x a P Ti K0Ll &* crov ** L S T V V 
KotAiav Trjs /x€Ta a k Awards Kat Aeyc Kat to Hep rjpwv Kai t?)v ev^v 
Tavrrjv • 

'O ©s' tov 'A/?pad/ui, 6 ©s' tov 'io-aaK, d ©s' tov 'IaK<u/?, d ©? d 
O"n7oras tov iroTap^ov mopvap, ev ttj 4 ypcpty vryvov Kat t^v poiyv tov 
atjuaTOS t^s SovXt^s Sv' [=8etva], Kat 77 o-<j>payls tov Kv' tJ/acSv Iv Xv. 
St<o/jI€v KaXws, otw/xcv /*€Ta <f>6fiov Ov, dfjLTjv. Ol $e EvayyeAto-Tat 
MaT^atos, MdpKO?, Aovkols Kat 'IcodvvT/s tavav7rvwort [?] dpptocrTov ypd<j>€ 
cts c/>vAAov $d<t>vrjs ^tcr^o-v c/> ^: 

vc'. [Atd v]d Avo-t^s dvSpa §€jjl€VOv hrapov KapvSta Tra/xTraKtov Kat 
8co-ov awd ko/attovs tp Kat Aeyc d7rdvo) cr^v K€c/>aA^v tov €ts to oVo/aol 
tov 7T/09 Kat tov vtov Kat tov dytov 7rFs, Kat Aey € Tavra Ta Adyta • aTroAv^- 
Twoav 11 Ta tt€A>; tov a/ [= Sctva] als airtkvQri Ad^apos axd tov Ta<f>ov. 

v£\ Ets piyov Kat 7rvp€Tov ypd<f>€ €ts K0V7rav adopter xtov [?] Tavra Ta 
dvd/naTa: X? iyevvrjOr], X? taTavpwOr], X? ovta-Tr), tov Kv tJ/xwv Iv Xv 

1 /ul'^ttjv. 2 \4yev. 3 iKeivov. 

4 a7eX^a<r. 5 hvixw* 6 * a ^ cre rw * 

7 7H7. 8 /3o/3ao*ai. 9 fiwrjcreU. 

10 pfa-tv. 1X a7reX^^7;rw(rai'. 

Appendix III. 361 

yevvqOivTOS cv Br/^Xec/x ttJs 'IovSatas, 7ravo"Ov, Satp,ova KCc/>aXc, otto tov 
8ovXov tov ®v hv [= 8ctva] , cts to ovo/jlcl tov Tips Kat tov Ytov /cat tov 
dytov IIvs, vvv koll dct kol cts tovs at[<5vas]. 

v#'. Ets XvVtv dvov ypd<f>€ TavVa cts \f/o)pXv koX 80s tov va to <£ay>7 * 
aKor^X, cts^^X, dp,7rcXovpas, 7rcptp,aptas, Kap,€vdVra)v, CKTtXcv, €K7rctXcv,. 
/?pto~Ka8c8cos, SeSeovcra, to o-v<£acraToStos r)vp€* ttjv XvVtv Tavrrjv. 

£/3\ Ets 7rovov trrqOovs* Xeye ravrrjv tt)v ev^r/v aytc HLocr/xa Kat 
Aa/xtavc, Kvpc Kat la/, NtKoXac /cat 'A/ctVoWe oVov to, SpcVava 3 /SacrraTC 
/cat tov -7TOVOV koVtctc, Koif/aTe Kat to^ 7rovov top SovXov tov 0v' & 
[= Sctva]. 

£y'. *OTav €^77 o* avos 8atp,ova, rj to yXv...[T] tov, 77 c/>avTao-/xa, 
ypac/>c cts dyvvrjTO [?] X a P TL V^P^ ^"' oXtya)o~tv tov c/>cyyaptov /cat as 
fiacrTa, Xc'yc /cat cts to Sef tov tov avTtv 4 • 'Ev ovofxart tov lips /cat tov 
Ytov Kat tov Aytov IIvs. Tovto to c/>vXaKT77ptov iSoOrj tco Majvcn} cv 
Atyv7TT<p v7ro tov 'Ap^ayycXov Mt^aT^X, vo-Tepov 8c khoOr) t<3 /3ao-tXct fr 
]§oXop,a)VTi O7ro)s ir<LTa$r) rrdv aKaOapTov 7rvevp,a, 7; acr0cvctas 6 , 17 cjyoftio-fiov, 
77 c/>ptKtao-/xoVj 07 piyowvpeTOv 1 , 77 TptTatov, 77 ac/>77/x,eptvov, 77 tov crvvavTr]- 
p-aTOS, 77 ctti/SovXtJs, 77 KaTa^ovtov 8 , 77 7rXaytov, 77 p,c p,ayctas 7rc7rot77p,cVov, 
rj KoxfyoVy rj an-af, 77 XaXovv, 77 dXaXov, 77 cVtXTfTrriKOV, 77 7rpoo"K€tp<[ev]ov 9 , 
77 ac/>opp,ov, 77 irpixnr]% Kat ScvTcpas crvvavT770"ca)s, 77 tov aVavTT^aTos, *7 tov 
a7ravT77p,aros. 'O ©s' co"Ttv fiorjObs 10 tov 8ovXov cov 8v [= Sctva] 8ta 
Aawar^X, 'E /kappas, 8tac£vXa£ov cv 7ravTt Katp(S, rjfxipa koX vvktl 11 Kat a>pa, 
8ta<£vXafov avTOv o ^s' aVo TravTOS KaKov Kat 7ravTOS KtvSvvov. 'E/3ao"t- 
Xcvcrc o ^s cts tovs atwvas, dfxrjv. St(3/xcv KaXaJsi o"T(3p,€v p-cra 
c/»0)8ov ^"v. 

pr'. Ilcpt av8pa [^c] oVov tov <£cvyct 77 yvvatKa, ypdij/ov to ovop,a tov 
av8pos Kat T77S yvvaiKos cts x a P T ' v ^ye — desunt cetera. 

1 tippyae. 2 ctlOIov. 3 dtp-wava. 

4 dirT^v. 5 wao-tXet. 6 avdevis. 

7 pLyovtjperov. 8 KaraxOuvlw. 9 irpbffK'Cfxov. 

10 vorjdos. u vtifcrav. 



[From another MS. probably by the same hand.] 

toy}'. Ets /x,to~o/c€t/>aAov /cat K€(j>aXaXytav : — 

Ypd^e cis dyivTov [?] x a /° Tt '' ° &* T °v 'A/3/oaa/x 1 , o 0s toO 'Icraa/c, 
d 0s tov 'Ia/c<o/3, Avow 2 to Sat/xdvtov tov /jitcro/c€c/>aAov cwro ttjv K€<f)aXr)v 
tov SovAov arov, do/ctfa) ere to a/ca0aoTOv irva to /ca0e£d/A€vov irdvTore €ts 
ttjv K€(j>a\rjv tov dvdv, hrapov to abv irovr)p.a /cat /xtcrcucrc a7ro ttj% 
K€<j>aXrj<s ' a7ro p,to-o/ccc/>aAov [sic], ju,iAty/covs s /cat o"c/>ovovAov 4 aVd Toy 
SovXov tov Ov 8v' (Ft JZ k X or jtZ jtx f <j> fi Ov dfx : — [otw/acv /caAws, crrai/Aev 
/utcra cfrofiov Oeov 'A/x^'v]. 

to#'. Ei? 7rat8t o7ro9 c^ct /ca/cov vovv ets fidOtjcnv t<2v Upwv 
fxaTwv : 

Tpdif/ov ttjv a ft eis StOTcov ottov kotttovv to avTt'Scopov, /cat 80s to vol 
XtiTOvpyrjOfj 2a/2/3aT(D/cvpta/ca y /cat oao-av TeActa) 0<3o~iv to. y HafSftaTO)- 
/cv[pta/<a] Xywcre to 5 jac Kpao~l 7raAatov dSoXov 6 /cat iroTitf. to 7rat8i kqI aVo- 
A[txr€i] d vovs tov /cat otcjlv woTifcei to 7rai8t a? Xeyei 6 8i8acr/caAos tt)v 
€V XV V TavTYjv: — 

Kc d 0s tffjLoiv 6 viKrjcras /cat c/xortca? tcls /capStas t<3v [i^e^i^/c], 
irpzo-fivTepoi MeAxioreSeic, Na/Jou, 'Icox**/^ [there follows a long list of 
Hebrew names], avrot /3or)0rjo-a.T€ 7 7ravT€S /cat avot£aT€ tov vovv /cat tt/v 
/capStav tot) SovAov tov 0v 8v ets t^v \xdOt\o~iv Ttuv tcpaJv ypa^u-aVajv. 

[Two more prayers in almost the same terms follow.] 

*As Acyet Kat t6v i^aA/xdv EvAoyifcra) 8 tov kv ev 7ravrt /catpai, /cat as 
KpaTrj to 7rat8t aVo to /c€</>aAtv d StSaovcaAos /cat as Aeyct : 

[Here follows another long prayer.] 

tit. [illegible] va Kaij/rjs tyjv o-irXijvav: — 

Nol ypdij/rfs rpia ^apTca, va Ta Kd\j/r)s airdvov ets ra pov\a rov P* a ' a 

1 avpadju. 

2 \i(T€. 

3 q.e. pfytyyos. 

4 <r<popd^\ov. 

6 \ciuxr4 rw. 

6 AdtaXov. 

7 fto7)0'fi<raTai. 

8 6^X07^6;. 

Appendix IV. 


els cva \ov\idpiv €K€L ottov tov TTOvci rj aTrXrjva ttj v<TT€pivYJ tov <f>cyyapiov 
c rjfxepa' kol eivat avra ra arj^dSia ottov OeXeis vol ypd\j/rjg ei<s tol Tpia 
\apria TavTa ; — 

+ irepl va o-ra/xar^cr^s 1 ^aXa^tv: — 

"Orav l$fjs ottov do^t^ci va 7r£<f>TYj 2 xaXd^tv r^s a>p[as] va €X2? 5 
fiavpofxdvtKov fxa^alpiv 3 rj fvXtva r\ /co/caAevta ra pavr/iaa, vd to Trdprjs 4 
€ts to X*P IV °~ ov T0 $ € $ LO ' v i va o'Tap.aTrjcrys tol v€<j>r) /ca#a>s ctvat, -qyovv vd 
ra aTp(£o-r]<s b ets tov ovpavov, btrov piKTOvv [sic] tt)v )3po)(r)v teal to 
\a\d£w, va cur^s erf*? : 'Ev ap^jj rjv 6 \6yos, /cat o Adyos r)v 7rpos tov Ov, 
/cat Os f)v 6 Adyos, /cat /ca0<os to elTrrjs irapevOvs va Kap<f>wo~r}s to pLa^aipLv 
cts Ta/3Xav 6 7] ets ty)v yrjv, kol ttjs copas (TTCKcrat 7 to ^aXa^tv. Et Sc 8 av 
€to"at €ts Kapdfiw /cat ov^t ct? aAAov toVov: — 

[The scribe here changes the subject abruptly.] 

Eor megrim and headache : 

Write on a piece of paper: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, 
God of Jacob, loose the demon of the megrim 9 from the head of 

1 <TTafiaTi<T€is. 2 ire^rtj. 3 fiaxtpw- 

4 irdpis. 5 (TTpoffeis. * rav\a. 

7 (TT^K€T€. 8 I St. 

9 t6 fiiaoKtyaXov (or 6 /uo-o/c^aXos), half-head, is a literal rendering of the 
ancient ^ui/epaWa, a neuralgic pain on one side of the head or face, whence our 
own word megrim (through the French migraine = hemicraine). This pain is 
by the modern folk-physician, consistently enough, attributed to a special 
demon, with whom I personally am not acquainted ; but Mr W. H. D. Eouse, 
more fortunate, in his interesting paper on 'Folk-lore from the Southern 
Sporades' (Folk-Lore, June 1899, pp. 171 — 172) was able to quote a charm 
iruui a jus. siiiiuar lu mine, in which wis - iiaii-jueau ueinuu m uesunueu as 
" a youth standing beyond Jordan and crying with a loud voice that he wants 
man's flesh to eat." 

364 Macedonian Folklore 

Thy servant. I charge thee, unclean spirit, which ever sittest in 
the head of man, take thy pain and depart from the head : from 
half-head, membrane, and vertebra, from the servant of God 
So-and-So. Stand we fairly, stand we with fear of God. Amen. 

For a child which has a mind unable to learn the sacred 
letters : 

Write the A. B.C. on a platter used for holy bread and give it to 
be blessed in the liturgy on three Saturdays and Sundays, and when 
the three Saturdays and Sundays are complete, dissolve it [?] in 
unadulterated old wine and give the child to drink, and his brain 
will be set free. And while the child is drinking let the school- 
master say the prayer : 

Lord our God, who hast overcome and enlightened the hearts of 
[illegible], presbyters Melchisedeck, Naboi, Jochami, etc. help ye all, 
and open the mind and the heart of the servant of God So-and-So, 
that he may learn the sacred letters. 

Let him also recite the psalm : "I will bless the Lord in all 
time," and let the schoolmaster hold the child by the head and 

say : 

For affections of the spleen : 

Write on three pieces of paper and burn them in a spoon over 
his clothes, in the part where the spleen ails, on the fifth day of the 
moon ; and these are the signs which thou shalt write on these three 
pieces of paper : 

To stay a hail-storm : 

When thou seest that hail begins to fall, at that same time take 
a black-handled knife, the handle being either wood or bone, hold it 
in thy right hand, in order to stay the clouds as they are, namely to 
scatter them over the sky, which pour the rain and the hail, and say 
thus: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with 
God, and the Word was God," and as soon as thou hast said this, 
forthwith plant the knife into a table or into the earth, and at once 
the hail- storm ceases. But if thou happenest to be on board ship, 
and not in any other place, 


Extracts from a Phylactery dated 1774, in the possession of 
M. Demetrius Lascaris of Melenik, Macedonia. Copied Sept. 17, 
1900 1 . 

navevXoyyjpevrj Ilavayta A4onroLva ©cotokc, fiorjOrjcrov tov 8. t. 0. 
: A : [i.e. 8ouAov tov Oeov Aov/cav] 

i£ovcrlai 9 Xepovy@€t/A, %€pa<f>€ipL. 

i£u)7rvp€TOv ptyos, Kparaiovs /3po)(rjsj KvprjKas XifxrjTiKOvs, voaov /?Aa^cpas, 
voaov ^aX^TTYJs, voacoSuvy/s, irtpirTiKrjs KCLt irepTTTTjfJLivrjs, Ao'fa t<3 Harpl 
/cat tw Yt<3 /cat T(a Ayta> TLvevfxari. 

/cat tovs prjTOpas to3v $aipova)V fefievovs /cat xaXLVtofiivovz, oi/tojs €0"Ta>o*av 
ol i^Opol tov SovXov tov $€ov : Aovkol : At yAojoxrat auTcov, tol X€tXrj 
avTojv koX 17 /capSta avrwv, tol vevpa avrojv /cat ol dppol avrojv /cat tol 
opcpaTa €w? tcAos avrov. /cat av Tts virdyrj cts tov 8. t. ^. : A : Sece tovs 
7ro8as tovs tov prj Tpcf €tv, 8ecrov tcls xctpds tovs to p,?) oW^owTat Tndo-at 
tov</>€Kl rj o"ira6\ rj Kovrdpi vol ptfovv airavu) €ts tov 8. t. #. : A : To 
fioXvftt owov vol pi£ovv hrdvm ck tov 8. t. #. A. ^t€ fioTavi vol ylvy 
fiafi/SaKi /cat 6 'Ap^ayycAos Mt^aiyX va to wapapepLCrj €ojs Tpcts opyutas 
cwro /covtol tov 8. t. #. A. Kat 6 8. t. 0. A. va y[A]vTO)o*^ uyet^s /cat oi 
e^^pot toO 8. t. $. A. {: 8ov/ca :} va ctvat 8c/x€i/ot. ojs SiOrjKav tol CTopoLTa 


avrojv /caTa tov 8. t. $. : A : ^ <£ama tov tov<j>£klov tojv va ytv?/ afflepas 
/cat to cnraQL Tdw BaaRdia.. ^tTitrnv. Kilni* tAv £ t # • A • *<«) £/,..£r». 

1 The text is given with all its eccentricities of spelling, style, and grammar 
faithfully preserved. 

366 Macedonian Folklore 


aTr€)(<D<rL ctaro rbv 8. t. 6, : A : koi iv dvopan rov peydXov Oeov ^a/3ao)0 
o'/o/afw tcls i/38oprjKovTa 8vo acrOivtiais us €^€t o aV^panros* ' Ava^oiprjo-are 
ctaro rbv SovXo r. 0. : Sov/ca : kgu ?y ctaro ovoai/ovs KarijXOev aaOivua kcu rf 
ctaro aoTpov, rj ctaro tJAiov >} ctaro o'tXrjvrjS f) ctaro £d<£oi> rf ctaro Kpvov dipos rj 
ctaro yepo r} ctaro acrrpaTrrjs KarrjKOev rf drrb creurpov rj ctaro ktvttov KarrjXOcVy 
rj ctaro <f>6vov rj ctaro ov rj 7T€oYov rj dirb TrorapLov 77 ay pov rj TT€pif36X.ov 
if iv Krj7T(o rj iv irapa8€L<na rj iv StoSw rj Tpt68(o rj iv etcrdSw rj iv e^d6\j> 
Xovrpov, <f>ovpvov, Tpo^dAov 1 rj iv Ovpa rj OvpiSa ai/oiycov, KctToiyctov, 
akwvtov. ........... 

t; ctaro cf>dpp.aKos r) <f>86vov rj t,rj\ov koi oVo ftapiwv alcrypwv o<f>6a\pwv rj 
aVo fiaarKOcrvvrjs rj dXkrjs (rvp<t>opa<s iirrjppivrjs rj dyepucov r/ vtpatSov rf 
rtav iv fd</>a> d€po7T€Twp€V<*)v kcu rjXOart dbuajcrai rov 8. r. 0. : A : Kvpte 
<f)vkaTT€ ........... 

V€<f>p67TOVOV, XGlpOTTOVOV, OVlTOVpiCLS ....... 

e£opKt£oj vfias ort €crrt aStKoi/ €is tcV S. t. 0. : A : 

1 'ground marked out for the erection of a church,' according to my 


Quaedam Anglice non reddendo,, 

^,KVcf>TQ), yova.Ti£<o '/A7rpO$ crov, 

To jxcLKpv fxov \ to cklo-to crov. (jcXctSapia, a lock.) 


*AvdfJL€(ra Vc 6vo /2otwa 

Boup/?ouXaKa? /carpaKuXcu (TropSiy, crepitus ventris.) 

KoiXta /x€ koiXmx, 
To fiaitpv Kav SovXaa. (7ri0api, a wine-jar.) 

'Avoty' o /jtaXXtapog 
MTratV o* y/coXtapos. (Tcrovpdm, a sock.) 

XtXieus, ^tvXtats KvpaTcrovSais /ua V r^v aXX?y /caTOvpiovvrav. 

XiXiais, /uvXiat? /cvpaTcrouScus aracKcXa KaTpow. 

(o-Tpcxtats, the eaves.) 

K.oKKtvrj Kal fxaWiapr] 
Via, top kcuXo crov KaXrf. (yidfJLTroXr}, a woollen blanket.) 

Ko/c/avo? TtaviTcapos To-aKvovhi *s to?' kcoXo rov. 

(Kpdvo, the cornelian-cherry.) 

368 Macedonian Folklore 

Mwaivo), fiyaivu) 's tov ovra kou KOVTOyovarifto, 
Bya£o> tov KajuL7ra £ovpva KaC <re KaAa<£aTi£a>. 

{vtvTovKi, a trunk.) 


BaX' T7] KCU (TTOL^€L, 

ByaA.' TTj K7) a^yi^i. 
(7raT<rd/3pa toi5 <j>ovpvov, the rag with which the oven is swept.) 


Siarap, rrdrap, ere rt) /?a£a>, 

Ky a7roKovp$(j)pL€vr} fiyatvti. (jnJTTa, a pie.) 

2 to fiovvo ytwrjOKOL, 's to fiovvb Tpdv€tf/a, 
Tu)pa avaarrjOKa va yXkirm tov avTpa koX tstj yvvaiKas. 

(/caT(3<£Ai, the door-sill.) 


Page 13. 

Col. Leake gives a pretty variant of the weather-lore on the Epiphany, from 
Acarnania : 

Xapci <rra XpiaT&yeva crreyva, 
Tot $wra yiovLGiLhra, 

M£ T7)V AafJLTpTJP ^p€X0TUfJL€V7JVy 

TA jULirdpia yto/uLKr^ya. 
" Joy to a dry Christmas, a snowy Epiphany, and a rainy Easter, then the 
barns will be filled." 

He also quotes the Sicilian saying : Gennaro sicco borghese ricco. 

Travels in Northern Greece, Vol. in. p. 515. 

Page 123. 

Concerning the plant popularly called * The Holy Virgin's Hand,' Scarlatos 
D. Byzantios says: X4pi ttjs Havayias dvofi&frw 17 yvvcuKes eU6s rt <pvrov, rd 
biroLOV iKdfrovGiv els r&s 7ewas, (refidtAevcu, kol fie ai/rb pavrifovv to offcy/Aa tG>v 
\ex<jovcov. He identifies it with the peony, Ae£t*cc> rrjs kclO* 7)fj.a$ 'EWtjvlktjs 
AiaXiKTOv, s.v. x^P 1 ' 


Agathangelus, prophecies of, 116-7 

Alexander the Great, in incantations, 
251; in folk tradition, 279-81; 
legendary history of, 281-9 

ants, omen from, 19 

April, 43-6 

Armenos, 124 

arrack, omen from spilling, 102 

arrow-shooting, 27-8 

ass, the, in ancient and modern Mace- 
donia, 299-300 

augury, 104-111 

Ayeriko, 224-5, 240-2 

Baboyeri, 88 

basil, its uses, 93 ; songs about the, 94 
bat, superstition about the, 110 
beardless men, superstitious dread of, 

beasts, benediction of, 223-4 
bells, on New Year's Day, 80 
betrothal, 150-4; songs, 152-3 
Bible, the, in folk-medicine, 227 
"binding" of married people, 171, 

232, 234 
birds, legends about, 290-4 
birth, 123-146 
bite, cure for, 230, 233 
bleeding, cure for, 230, 233 
bones, divination by, 96-7 
bonfires, 27-8, 57, 60 
"Borrowing Days," the, 23-4 
boughs, New Year's, 81 
bread, superstitions about, 98 ; sacred- 

ness of, 103-4 
"Breeder," popular name for January, 

"Bright," popular name for Easter, 35 
brothers, adopted, 186 
bugs, 18, 36 

candles, Easter, 36 

carols, New Year's, 82 
cat, omens from, 110-1 ; leaping over 
corpse, 219-20 

caterpillars, recipe for driving away, 231 
cattle, weather-lore about, 111 ; cure 

of ailing, 224 
caul, mysterious veneration of the, 139 
charms, 19, 23, 124, 228, 238-40, 

Charos, 102, 128; penny of, 193; 

popular conception of, 206-7 
Cheese-Sunday, 26-7, 29 
child-birth, superstitions connected 

with, 124-6, 137-9 
choking, omen from, 111-2 
christening, 134-7 
Christmas, 76-7 
Cleaning Week, 30 
cock, weather-lore about the, 107 
cock's spur, safeguard against the Evil 

Eye, 142 
coffee, divination by, 95 
cornel buds, divination by, 78-9 
cripples, superstition about, 105 
Cronia, 27 
Cross, Feast of the, 60; "Month of 

the," 64; Diving for the, 87-8 
cross-bows, 27-8 

crowns, child born with two, 105 
cuckoo, 16-7 
curse, dread of parent's, 135, 195, 211, 

226 ; Bishop's, 211 foil. 

daisy, divination by plucking a, 46 

Days, unlucky, 189-91 

dead, feasts of the, 207-10 

December, 67-8 

dervishes, as vampire-killers, 221; as 
expellers or propitiators of evil 
spirits, 224-5 

dirges, 194-6, 201-2, 205-6 

divination, 95-117 

dog, omen from a howling, 107 ; as a 
guardian spirit, 222 ; as a wood- 
spirit, 252 

~260-i; legends about the, 261-3', 
264 ; mythological interpretation of 
the, 265 



dreams, 79, 209; interpretation of, 

drinking rhymes, 342-3 
drought, ceremonies in time of, 118-20 
drunkenness, recipe against, 233 
Drymiais, 21, 63-4 
Dudule-song, 119 

Eagle, "The Prince and the," 268-77, 

ears, premonitions derived from burn- 
ing and ringing, 111 

Easter, weather-lore, 13 ; rhymes, 26 ; 
customs, 25-42 ; Sunday, 35 ; Tues- 
day, 38 ; song, 38 

Elijah, the Prophet, 240 

Epiphany, weather-love, 13, 368 ; 
Feast, 86-8 

Evil Eye, 123-4, 139-46 

exhumation, 210-214 

eyes, premonitions from twitching, 112 

Fates, 125-8; "The Youth and the," 

fatigue, recipe against, 233 

February, 14 

Fetch, 222 

fever, cause of, 224; cures for, 225, 
228, 232-4 

fire, divination by, 98 ; ordeal, 298-9 

first-foot, 84-5 

first-fruit, 122 

fishing, recipe for success in, 233 

"Flayer," popular name for March, 21 

flea, 18, 27 

flowers, divination by, 46 

Fortune, 128-9 

forty days, 14-5; paces, 229 

Forty-day fast, 26 

Friday, 21, 63, 190-1 

fright, recipes against, 225, 233-4 

funeral rites, 192-222; procession, 197; 
service, 200 ; feast, 203-4 ; mourn- 
ing, 204-6 

gad-fly, omen from, 110 

games, Easter, 38 ; St Thomas's, 40 

" Gaping," game of, 29-30 

garlic, as a safeguard against the Evil 

Eye, 124, 141 
geese, wild, weather-lore, 62 
Gipsy fortune-tellers, 225-6 
girdle, superstitions about the, 99-100 
Good Friday, 35 
"Good Word," 35 
"gooding," 18, 32, 89 
grasshopper, 59-60 
Great Bear, folk names for the, 70 
"Great Month," popular name for 

January, 13 

gyon, forerunner of spring, 17 ; legend 
of, 290-1 

hair, school superstition about, 301 
half-head, demon of the, 363 n. 
hand, premonitions from itching, 112 
hare, superstition about the, 106 
" Harvester," popular name for June, 

hemorrhage, cure for, 234 
hen, omen from a crowing, 106 
hexagram, symbolic significance of the, 

hide and seek, game of, 17 n. 
holy springs, 243-4; water, 75, 258 
Holy Week, 35 
house-spirits, 257-9 

January, 13-4 
"Judas," 37 
July, 59-60 
June, 50-58 

Karkantzari, 73-6, 219 n. 

kid, omen from the sight of a, 16 

kings, in M. Gr. folk-tales, 275 

Kledonas, rite of, 53-7 

knots, magic significance of, 100, 105, 

170, 228, 234 
Koran, the, in folk- medicine, 224 

lamb, omen from the sight of a, 16; 

Easter, 38 
"Lame Month," popular name of 

February, 14 
Lamia, the, 265 foil. 
Lazarus, Feast of, 32-4 
lead, divination by molten, 51-2 
Lent, 26-8 

light, ceremony of receiving, 36 
lightning, recipe against, 229 
"Little Month," 14 
"Long Month," 13 

mad dog, cure for the bite of a, 

magpie, omen from a, 110 

Makarios, prophecies of, 117 

March, 16-24 

marriage, 147-91 

May, 43, 46-9 

Meat-Sunday, 26 

medical treatises, 230-6, 358-64 

medicine, folk-, 227-30 

Mid-Pentecost, 40 

Milky Way, popular names for the, 
and legend, 69 

mirror, divination by, 50-1 

Mohammed the "Conqueror and ex- 
communication, 212-3 



Mohammedan wizards, 225 

Moirais, 126-8 

*' Month-days," 62 

moon, new, 71 ; eclipse of the, 72 

morra, game of, 297-8 

"mothering," 29 

mummers, 88 

NaYdis, story of, 129-34, 247-50 
nail, a safeguard against evil, 64; 

nailing the Yampire, 221 
nail-cutting, superstition about, 189- 

90 ; nail-parings, preserved, 214-5 
name-day, 122 

Nasreddin Khodja, story of, 114 
Neraides, 125, 240 foil. 
New Year's Day, 77-83 
" Night of Power," 86 
nightbird, omen from a, 108 
nose, premonition from itching, 113; 

cure for a bleeding, 230, 233 
November, 66-7 
nuskas, use of, 224 

October, 65-6 

offerings, to the dead, 197, 208-9 

oil, omen from spilt, 102 

olive 'leaves, divination by, 78 

owl, omen from a hooting, 107, 108 

Palm Sunday, 34 

"pappas," popular name for the daisy, 

Paschal eggs, 35 
Paschalia, 37 

pee-wit, legend of the, 290 
pentagram, symbolic significance of 

the, 142 
pepper, omen from spilt, 102 
Perperuna-song, 119 
Philip, in folk tradition, 279 
philtres, 226-7 
phylacteries, 238-40, 365-6 
plague, the, 237-8 
plants, magic, 123, 368 
Pleiades, the, 70 
* ' Plough, " " Plough-feet, " popular 

names for constellations, 70 
portraiture, superstitious dread of, 

possession, by demons, 232, 235, 241 
"Precursor Men," 89 
premonitions, 111-3 
priests, superstition about, 104-5 
Prince and the Eagle, story of the, 
_ 268-77, 351-7 

of the, 264 °~~"' """ 

prophecies, 116-7 
Protomaia, 46 

"Pruner," popular name for January, 

Purification, feast of the, 14-5 ; after 

child-birth, 137; after a funeral, 

203-4 ; for the Evil Eye, 143 ; in 

folk-medicine, 223 

quince-tree, in folk-medicine, 228 

rabbit, omen from the encounter of a, 

rainbow, superstitious belief about 

the, 71 
rats, omen from, 108 
red-haired people, 105 
red yarn, charm of the, 19, 23, 124, 228 
" Remembrance," game of, 98 
rheumatism, cure for, 229 
rhinoceros' horn, safeguard against 

the Evil Eye, 142-3 
riddles, 302 foil., 367 foil, 
right and left, 113, 187-8 
ring-dove, legend of the, 293 
robbers, charm against, 233 
Eousa, feast of the, 40-2 

Sabbatarians, 221-2 

St Andrew, "Month of," 66 

,, Anthony, 241 

„ Barbara, 67 

„ Basil, 77-83 

„ Demetrius, "Month of," 65 

„ Elias, 240 

„ Elmo, fires of, 241 

„ Friday, 243 

„ George, Feast of, 11, 43-6 ; " Month 

of," 43 
,, Gervais, 15 
„ Hilary, 15 
,, Ignatius, 68 
„ John, Feast of, 11, 50, 61-88; 

curer of fevers, 65, 233 
,, John's wort, 123 
„ Kosmas and Damian, 235 
„ Medard, 15 
„ Modestos, 241 
„ Nicholas, "Month of," 67; patron 

of mariners, 241 
„ Panteleemon, 241 
„ Paul, 15 
„ Plato, 67 
„ Protais, 15 
„ Solomone, 243 
,, Spyridion, 68 
„ Thomas, Feast of, 39 
,, Vincent, 15 

giving out of the house, 101 ; sacred- 
ness of, 102 
sand-bath, 229 




as a safe- 
n. 2 

Saturnalia, 26 

Scarlatina, 40 

Seasons, rhymes on the, 12 

September, 64-5 

serpent, superstition about, 

charms against, 233-4 
shadow, as a nightmare, 257 
Shepherd and his flock, legend of the, 

Shepherd and the Nymphs, story of 

the, 246 
sieve, saying about the, 

out of the house, 101 ; 

guard against evil, 219, 
sleepiness, cure for, 231 
slings, 27-8 
Small-pox, 236-7 
sneezing, 30, 113-6 
snow, children's rhymes about the, 121 
soul, ideas concerning the, 193 
Souls' Sabbaths, 208-9 
"Sower," popular name for November, 

sparrows, omen from, 109, 111 
Spirits of the Air, 224-5 
storks, omen from, 109 
Strigla, 266 
Struma, 2, 224 

Sun, children's rhymes to the, 121 
swallow, 18-21; song, 18 
sweeping, after dark, 101 
symbolism, 118-22 
sympathetic magic, 19 

Testament, New, in folk-medicine, 227 
"Thresher," popular name for July, 59 
tooth superstition, 20 

toothache, cure for, 231 
tortoise, superstition about the, 109 
Triodi, game of, 295-7 
turning back, unlucky, 105 
" turtle-doves," 35 ; the bird, 109 
"Twelve-Days," 73 
"Twins," popular- name for November 
and December, 67 

vinegar, giving out of the house, 101 ; 

omen from spilt, 102 
Vintage, " Month of the," 64 
Virgin, Feasts of the, 61, 66 
Vrykolakas, 217-22 

warts, cure for, 230 

water, "speechless," 52, 83; giving 
out of the house, 101; symbolical 
use of, 122; "holy," 124 

Water-Spirits, 246, 249-56; -serpent, 
256, 265 

wax, divination by molten, 52 

weasel, omen from the, 108 ; supersti- 
tion and legend about, 109 

wedding, preparations, 155-67; cere- 
mony, 167-79 ; banquets, 179-82 ; 
songs, 157-86; toasts, 179 

Wednesday, 21, 63, 190-1 

whirlwind, incantation, 250-1 

Wild Boar, superstition about the, 

wine, rhymes on, 68 ; omen from 
spilt, 102 

women, popular opinion on, 122; 
rhymes on, 344-5 

wood-pigeons, omen from, 109 

Wood-Spirits, 250